Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.
Sir Francis Bacon
There are certain books out there that you read and enjoy, and then replace on the shelf and only occasionally ponder or recollect what happened between the covers. As a homeschooling family, we have encountered a handful of these books...they served the purpose of giving information, or helping to drive a point home, but they didn't stick in the mind, as it were. They were tasted and returned to the plate.
We have discovered, however, A.A. Milne's writings on his beloved Winnie-the-Pooh to be exquisitely delectable, and we have savored every. single. bite. All of us. These books were read with the same wonder and love, regardless of age. From this thirty-something, down to 3. Every day, I would eagerly consume my lunch, so that we could turn the pages on Pooh's newest adventure. I read aloud at lunchtime. I have a captive audience. Lunches with Pooh were of the leisurely sort. We would sometimes sit for 2 hours.
We laughed, hysterically at times, at Pooh's lack of brain, or Piglet's panic, or Owl's inability to spell his own name. We feasted on Milne's clear, simple language...so succinct and yet so profound at times. We even got teary in some places, especially the end of the second and last book, The House at Pooh Corner. The tears came for me, because I understood what Christopher Robin was trying to say, but couldn't.
"Pooh-"And as I sat there, cuddling with and laughing with my dear children, I felt that pang that a mother gets when she realizes that they don't stay that way. They will become too old for doing Nothing. They will become too old for sitting in my lap and reading a good story with me.
"Yes, Christopher Robin?"
"I'm not going to do Nothing any more."
"Well, not so much. They don't let you."
"Pooh," said Christopher Robin earnestly, "if I- if I'm not quite---" he stopped and tried again-- "Pooh, whatever happens, you will understand, won't you?"
But the children, they got teary for a different reason. They were sad because there were no more new adventures to share with Pooh. Everything there was to know about Pooh, well, they now knew it. There would be no more surprises.
Pooh is now an Old Friend. The best kind.
So, we have moved on for now. We are currently reading Pinocchio and enjoying that very much. Not quite as much as Pooh, but still. It's like Hershey's vs. Dove... both very good, one just the kind you eat more slowly and savor, and then remember fondly. Over and over again.
We will visit Pooh periodically, I am sure. Just to make sure he's still there in the Hundred Acre Wood, humming and thinking and giving us a reason to love books.
"But, of course, it isn't really Good-bye, because the Forest will always be there...and anyone who is Friendly with Bears can find it." A.A. Milne