When We Were Very Young by A A Milne and E H Shepard
|When We Were Very Young by A A Milne and E H Shepard|
|Category: Children's Rhymes and Verse|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Delightful verse which doesn't patronise children and will be enjoyed by adults too. Highly recommended particularly as a gift.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 112||Date: February 2016|
I've never been fond of poetry: there's something missing in my soul as I cannot see the benefits of saying something in verse form when it could be expressed more simply. I often wish that I was different and just occasionally some verse will touch me: it has happened with Wendy Cope and now with this delightful volume from A A Milne. As I read there was a curious mixture of good memories from childhood (and they were all too rare) and new material which struck a chord. The 'decorations' by E H Shepard didn't do any harm either!
I did wonder if the book would feel dated. It was first published in 1924, but the content is timeless (apart from the ready availability of household staff for the middle class) and taps into the great enjoyments of childhood, such as the joy of being out in the rain in a mac, wellies and waterproof hat (Happiness) or watching the sea, chin in hand and believing yourself alone in the world (The Island). There's a gentle debunking of childhood terrors, such as the fear of stepping on the lines between the paving in Lines and Squares or what might be behind the curtain in Brownie. (Nanny isn't certain what's there either.)
There are, of course, some old friends. Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace is a perennial favourite and if you're looking for a shorter book of poems then we can recommend this book. I still remember (and recite: that was the peril of poetry in childhood - the obligation to learn and recite in front of an audience)
Weatherby George Dupree
Care of his Mother,
Though he was only three.
I'll confess though that I'd forgotten that it was called Disobedience, but the reversal of the child/parent roll still delights and I love Shepard's illustration of Mother on a lead being led along behind George on his tricycle. It reminded me of our dog who was always happiest when she had my husband on his lead - it saved worrying about whether or not he would run off into the traffic. I found a new favourite too: Daffodowndilly which is a lovely reminder at the chilly end of February that spring really is on its way.
There isn't a poor one in all the poems and I really enjoyed both the journey down memory lane and the new explorations. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag. It's a substantial hardback which will stand a lot of loving and would make a brilliant present either on its own or with the other books published by Egmont in the same series. It (or they) would make a great christening/baptism present. It would sit very well on a shelf with Winnie-the-Pooh - and you're never too old for Winnie the Pooh, are you?
You can read more book reviews or buy When We Were Very Young by A A Milne and E H Shepard at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy When We Were Very Young by A A Milne and E H Shepard at Amazon.com.
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