by Holden Kosàly-Meyer | Staff Writer
In my recent attempts to master the Hungarian language, I have been reading my mother’s copy of Micimacko, the Hungarian translation of A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh. To supplement and aid in understanding, I’ve been reading the original English version as well, and I’m being reminded of just how much I fucking love that book. Unlike many stories for children, the characters’ outlook on life and the world around them actually resemble a child’s view, rather than merely what an adult might think a child’s view is. The logic Pooh and Piglet use to justify that their hole in the ground is in fact a Cunning Heffalump Trap reminds me of the logic I would use to assure myself that there were in fact dinosaur bones in my cousin’s backyard and that mixing toothpaste with water would create a transformation potion. It is a sad fact that many people I know have only been exposed to Pooh through the Disney movies, and while the movies are excellent – at least some of them – they only capture a fraction of the charm the books offer.
One quality of the Pooh books I feel cannot be overstated is their humor’s ability to mature along with the reader. Many of the jokes in Winnie-the-Pooh become funnier as the reader grows and understands more about the world, though not in the sense that there’s a dirty double-entendre that goes over kids’ heads but adults can snicker at. Rather, as a child grows and gains a better understanding of language and social interactions, they might go back and realize that the characters’ page-long conversation has been about absolutely nothing, or they’ve said the exact same sentence four times. I distinctly remember watching my brother, after many years of having had it read to him, reading the book to himself for the first time. When he got to the segment, “You can’t help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn’t spell it right,” it clicked in his mind what that sentence actually meant, and he laughed raucously for several minutes. That was the moment I realized just how much he was growing. To anyone who has not read the books (Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner) I cannot recommend them enough. And for those who have, why not read them again?