One of my favorite things about reading Winnie-the-Pooh was A.A. Milne’s obvious comedy-writing background. Throughout the entire book the tone was so witty and tongue in cheek (and it didn’t feel too forced, like it could have ended up feeling) that I, as an adult reader, never felt bored or unaccounted for while I was reading. The jokes are ones that adults can easily laugh at but would force children readers think about why they are funny instead of just providing cheap entertainment (for example, “his grandfather had two names in case he lost one”). There were also many great puns, and I can always go for a good pun (of which there were many (for example, a sustaining book to entertain Pooh while he is stuck in Rabbit’s hole but also to be replacement for nourishment while he tries to get skinnier so he can squeeze out of the hole)). There was a sort of air of more mature jokes being made at the expense of the child-like characters in the book, but it was never in a very harmful way. Usually it happened when a character misunderstood what a word or idea was: “’What does ‘under the name’ mean?’ asked Christopher Robin. ‘It means he had the name over the door in gold letters, and he lived under it.’” This humor absolutely made this book for me. It was my favorite that we read all semester because it felt very whimsical and unique but at the same time almost wisening. I love that A.A. Milne seems to poke a little bit of fun at the didactic morals that most children’s books interject by capitalizing the lessons the reader might think the characters should learn from certain misadventures (for example, “A Good Thing To Do”) and then completely passing them by/making no big deal about them. It forces the child reader to decide what lessons to take to heart and allows them to create their own lessons.
Humor in Winnie-the-Poohon April 18, 2013 1:08pm