By David Benedictus
Winnie-the-Pooh is back! My seven year-old was listening to this audio book as I was cooking, and I was enjoying the humour sprinkled throughout while thinking, “These really are so well-written; no wonder they are classics,” when I picked up the cover and read it a little more closely. Yes, you saw correctly at the top there. The author is not A.A. Milne, but David Benedictus. From the back of the CD cover: “he presents an all-new collection of Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Recreating the tenderness of A. A. Milne’s classic characters, Benedictus triumphantly chronicles the adventures of Christopher Robin and all of his Hundred Acre Wood friends.” And it is well-done. The stories are humorous at a 10 or 12 year old level (and adult), and the reader, Jim Dale, does a fabulous job. Really, imagine Rabbit with a thick Scottish brogue. It’s perfect! A great find.
Now, we also listened to “The House at Pooh Corner,” and were rather disappointed. Not so much with the actual stories, perhaps, as with the narration. In comparison to “Return to the Hundred Acre Wood” which is narrated by one man with a remarkable ability to put on a variety of entertaining voices, “The House at Pooh Corner” has a whole cast of voices but comes in second-place in my opinion…but perhaps I have it all wrong. On-line reviews state quite the opposite! So I will let you decide for yourself.
One caution: There are ten chapters/stories on the cd’s. You may wish to skip chapter 6 which contains a few comments about creatures saying their prayers or not saying their prayers (CD#2 tracks 6 and 7). And Chapter 10 mentions getting your hand read and being told one of three fortunes based on how much money you paid.
Ages 6 and up
Available from: Hamilton Public Library