Friday, September 19, 2008

Winnie the Pooh Tea Party

Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne. Dutton Children's Books, various publication dates. The original Pooh collection is actually a four volume set which includes two poetry books (When we were Very Young, and Now we are Six) But the popularity of the bear has led to many other Pooh books for younger children relating to Time and ABC and other novelties. (Not to mention the Disney-fied versions)

The strange thing I've discovered about Winnie the Pooh is age related.
Parents know about the Disney version -- and think that Pooh is only for preschoolers. Yet when I do Pooh Tea parties at my library, I insist on school age children, grade K and up. (and K is stretching it downwards, I do believe.)

I've discovered that younger kids will sit and listen when the original stories are read to them -- but they are completely blank. No real reaction or understanding of the stories. They just don't get the humor of the real stories. (Even my own kids when I'm reading one-on-one.)

Yet, when I read them to first grade and up, they giggle and giggle.
They "get" it. They funny loooooong titles.
The ridiculous situations. (tracking a woozle?)
Finding a Heffalump? (not)
The search for the North Pole? (and finding a stick and declaring it a pole. Pole?)
Living "under" the sign of Sanders?

It's so satisfying to parent and child when the child thinks these references are as funny as the adult does.

When I have more younger than older kids at a Pooh event at the library, I always tell "Pooh Goes Visiting and Gets Into a Tight Place." But do the very younger ones 'get' the sentence where Pooh requests, "would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?"
and then I show the classic Pooh video (when will they bring it out in DVD?) of "In Which It Is Shown That Tiggers Don't Climb Trees. The kids watch the video. The parents suddenly notice that I'm showing the pages of the BOOK that match that story, while the video plays. (which does create a demand for the "real" Winnie the Pooh books.)

And, of course, there's nothing like an English Tea. (using apple juice and real glass punch cups) to finish off the program.
Butter sandwiches on crustless bread. Cucumber sandwiches. little pastries (boughten) and fresh scones that the kids can dribble their very own honey on. (onto?)

(surprise -- the first time I did this, I discovered that scones are just biscuits. Which you can vary by adding a bit of sugar. Children prefer them plain -- no currents or other flavoring -- so they're easy to make.)

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