Saturday, September 26, 2009

Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne

I mentionned Charlotte Mason a few posts back, and here's an example of how we're incorporating her approach into our homeschooling.

Charlotte Mason is all about "living books". In laymen's terms, that means books that are well written, imaginative, use big words, and encourage moral/intellectual and character development. You know, books that don't suck.

I like books that don't suck.

I found a reading list of books, and joy of joys! We had one of them in our bookshelf. I present to you: Winnie the Pooh!

Please excuse the dog-eared look of the book. It is well-loved and voraciously read. Show me a new-looking book, and I'll show you an unloved book :(

This isn't your watered down, pop-cultured Disney version. This is the real deal. The book is filled with big words like "indeed", "wedged", "bonhommy" and "expedition". At first I thought the kids wouldn't understand the vocabulary, but they did! I like that about living books - they treat children as intelligent mini adults, not as little idiots.

The way the words are printed add so much to the story. Here, you can see the chapter where Pooh uses a balloon to float up to the hive. The words follow Pooh up the page. Ingenious! Artistic! Fascinating!

And the pictures! It's so nice to read a book to the kids that doesn't rely on flashy cartoons to keep their interest. The story itself is enough to cause them to ask for an extra chapter at bedtime.

As I said earlier, this isn't your watered-down Disney version. The author goes into the animals' characters in depth, and it's subtle enough for the kids, yet absolutely captivating for the adult reader. Remember what I said about treating the kids as intelligent little adults? It turns out that in the original Winnie-the-Pooh, Kanga and Roo are not native of the 100 Acre Wood. Actually, they just show up one day and Rabbit, Pooh and Piglet hatch a plan to get rid of them by - are you ready for this - kidnapping Roo!

There go all my fuzzy childhood memories. I love it!


Kendra said...

We, too, have been reading chapter books. Currently we are in the middle of the tale of Charlette's Web! The kids really enjoy it and learn lots of new words. Like gullible, sedentary, crisis and many others. It's good for their noggins. :)

Emilie said...

Oh, I love Charlotte's Web! Perhaps that will be the next book :)

cuddles said...

Oooh! Thanks for the suggestion. I think this will need to be added to my own personal reading list for when BN2 arrives and I'm trying to keep myself awake during middle-of-the-night nursing sessions!

I read sooooo many books when BB was born. It was so fantastic. Rather than feeling like my brain was turning to mush from all of the baby-talk and sleep deprivation, I actually felt like my brain was being enriched. Amazing.

There won't be as much time to keep my nose in a book this time around, I'm sure, since BB is going to be demanding attention, but I'm sure there'll still be time to make it through a book or two. ;o)

Emilie said...

Cuddles - When I first started breastfeeding, I couldn't figure out how to hold the baby and a book at the same time. I became a fan of late-night TV (George Strombolopoulis, and documentaries about Mexican immigrants and all that!). When I finally got the hang of it, I did some major reading, too!

Andrea R said...

YES! :D Pooh is a fave here too.

I meant to mention last night about treating kids like they have a brain.

(also, subbed to your feed so I don't miss anything)

Emilie said...

Andrea - thanks for checking out my blog! That was a great meeting last night.