Saturday, October 17, 2009

How it otter be

One more thought about "Return to the Hundred Acre Wood": It seems author David Benedictus has gotten more flack about creating a new character ("Lottie the Otter") than about anything else. But if you're going to write a sequel to Milne's book -- not that I'm saying you should, mind you, but if you're going to anyway -- then it's only right that a new character should appear. Both Milne's Pooh books contain arrivals of new characters. Kanga and Roo arrive more than halfway through "Winnie-the-Pooh", and Tigger arrives during that book's sequel, "The House at Pooh Corner". It's perfectly in keeping with Milne to have a new character in the new book.

Now, you might quibble with Benedictus' choice of an otter. I don't know if there are actually otters in the waters of Ashdown Forest, where the Pooh stories take place. Kanga, Roo, and Tigger are all exotic, non-indigenous animals, which is fine since they are simply Christopher Robin's playthings come to life. It seems to me an otter might be more in keeping with Owl and Rabbit, characters that don't correspond to C.R.'s toys but instead seem to be "real" animals in the forest. It would be interesting to know if this is what Benedictus intended. Perhaps this is made a bit clearer if you actually read the book. I can't possibly bring myself to buy it, but I will check it out at the library. I think I'll still be able to live with myself that way.

1 comment:

  1. Whilst I didn't much like Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, I agree entirely that the criticism about introducing a new character is unjustified because Milne did exactly that - and, in fact, chose toys for Christopher (in Kanga & Roo and Tigger) that could then be introduced into the stories!

    David Benedictus told me that his original choice for a new character (vetoed, I believe, by the Milne Estate) had been a snake.

    I'd often pondered on how (had I been asked) I would have written a new Pooh book and I know exactly the character I would have introduced...

    There's a photograph of A A Milne and Christopher playing on the nursery floor with Pooh and another of young Master Christopher's toys who would have provided several interesting story-lines - a penguin! :)