Reading Winnie the Pooh by A. E. Milne for the first time since becoming a parent was a fascinating experience.
The book, far more than the animated adaptation, is a remarkably faithful depiction of a child in imaginary play. So many times while I was reading, I found myself rememering times I had seen our son doing variations of what Christopher Robbins does.
First and foremost, Christopher Robbins is the natural leader of the gang. He is the smartest person in the room and everyone admires him. Yeah, I didn’t see that kind of play when our son was five. No, not at all :P
More than that, certain traits are assigned to the animals so that Christopher Robins doesn’t have to have then. Timid Piglet is probably the best example of this, a projection of a child’s insecurities. Piglet let’s Christopher Robins be brave.
Even Rabbit’s plan to kidnap Roo because Kanga makes him nervous is a great example of how little kids are sociopaths.
In short, now that I have a little Christopher Robbins of my own, I can appreciate the observational skills Milne demonstrated. For a story about a talking teddy bear, Winnie the Pooh is surprisingly true to life.
(And, yes, if our child, who has never shown any interest in any version of Winnie the Pooh, prefers the Disney version, that’s cool. Disney Tigger rocks)