When We Were Very Young by A. A. Milne

This lovely poetry collection by A. A. Milne contains the very first appearance of the iconic character Winnie-the-Pooh – although here he’s called Edward Bear. The poem in which he appears “Teddy Bear” is actually a very sweet little piece about him feeling self-conscious about his round belly, but ultimately learning to feel confident about it. For the kindness and warmth that Winnie-the-Pooh is known to embody, this is a very fitting debut for the character.

Having said that, don’t start this poetry collection thinking that it is a collection of Winnie-the-Pooh poems, as it certainly isn’t. Christopher Robin is featured in the collection, but he’s not a character at all, rather A. A. Milne’s real life son who he ended up using as a character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Indeed, one of the earliest poems in the collection is called “Buckingham Palace” and it seems like a heartfelt poetic write up of a trip taken to the titular location by A. A. Milne and Christopher Robin (who seems to have been a very young child at the time).

The whole collection seems, pretty much, to have been written from the perspective of early childhood. No doubt, you’ll have been read many of these poems when you were a child, either by parents or at school. That was definitely the case with me, with “The King’s Breakfast” definitely standing out as a poem that I had heard before. Plus, there’s “Halfway Down” which was famously performed on The Muppet Show years later.

Honestly, I don’t have much else to say about this collection. It was something I enjoyed reading and the author seems to be working hard to preserve the precious memories of his son’s childhood. For that reason, it’s something I’m sure a lot of readers will enjoy reading with their kids, but even if you don’t have kids (like me) there’s a lot to appreciate and admire about these poems.

Rating: 7/10

Buy it here.

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