Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace by A A Milne and E H Shepard

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Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace by A A Milne and E H Shepard

Category: Children's Rhymes and Verse
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A compilation of the most well-loved poems, this is a new volume of some old classics. Every home needs a copy.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 112 Date: March 2013
Publisher: Egmont Books
ISBN: 978-1405268639

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Do you remember that time when they were changing guard at Buckingham Palace, and Christopher Robin went down with Alice? Or how about that Christmas when King John (not a good man) asked for lots of things but only really wanted a big, India-rubber ball? These were the poems of my childhood, so much so that when this new compilation arrived I remembered some of them by heart even though it must have been a good 20 years since I leafed through Now We Are Six and When We Were Very Young

This isn’t a new book, but it’s a new release of some old classics, in a nice new edition. It’s a hardback which makes it that little bit more special – I remember thinking it was a real treat to read my mother’s Winnie the Pooh and The House At Pooh Corner because they came in a single big, beautiful, hardback volume which stood them apart from most books of my childhood. Hardbacks have weight in your hands. They seem proper, more serious books than a simple paperback. This is a lovely edition because it’s a child-sized hardback, so you get all the perks of a stiffer spine, but it’s still suitable for little hands to hold. The cover has a clear British theme to it, with red, white and blue background, and the subtitle on the front adds to this. It’s Britain through the poems of A.A. Milne and the eyes of E.H. Shepard they tell us.

Anyone who knows anything about Pooh will remember that Milne did the words and Shepard did the pictures (or ‘decorations’ as they call them here). I’ve always thought it so very clever that they can take illustrations from one edition and re-use or edit them for further versions without the loss of any of the magic. That’s certainly the case here. There’s at least one on every double page spread, sometimes two or three, and they are the same illustrations you’ll remember from the editions you read as a child, reproduced in bright, vivid colours. To my eye they look classic rather than old-fashioned, and to kids, well, I think they’ll just look like pictures that go well with the words, more formal as they sometimes are.

The poems haven’t been changed at all (a jolly good thing too! No one wants Now I am thirty, and a little bit flirty) but apart from the odd word and phrase (forty shillings reward for information leading to the return of James Morrison Weatherby George Dupree’s mother) there’s surprisingly little to baffle the next generation.

While I don’t vividly remember all the poems, there’s not a dud one in the mix. Not all the poems from the two original volumes are included here, but that means the ones that are have been specially selected, as the better ones or more popular ones or whatever. I would have been sad if the King’s Breakfast had been missed out (it hasn’t) but I can’t immediately think of any that are missing, so the selection process seems to have worked well.

We have lots of poems about Pooh and Christopher Robin which I like, as in books of poems you often don’t get to see the same characters twice, but there are new people to meet too. I especially like the three foxes who, you’ll remember, didn’t wear stockings and didn’t wear sockses and when Anne and friend go out for a walk, make plans for what they’ll do at forty-two… and then just do it that afternoon, rather than waiting a lifetime. But, my all-time favourite has to be that King who just wants a little bit of butter for his bread and makes the lazy cow get off her fat behind to give him some.

So there you have it. The best of When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six, beautifully presented in a new volume. Just the same as how you remember them, repacked for the children who need to meet them now, so they can be the ones remembering them in the future, many years from now. Every home needs a copy.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.

A fan of classic Pooh but less sure about the new stuff? Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus is an excellent follow up to the originals.

Buy Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace by A A Milne and E H Shepard at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace by A A Milne and E H Shepard at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace by A A Milne and E H Shepard at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace by A A Milne and E H Shepard at Amazon.com.


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