Oh, Bother … Relax


Winnie the pooh and piglet1

By Judy Berman

How could one lovable, somewhat-confused, philosophical bear get into so much hot water?

Usually, Winnie the Pooh’s downfall is linked to honey pots.

But there he was getting dissed in a small Polish town because of a scandalous lack of clothing on his lower extremities.

He did have his little red jacket on. But no pants. Come to think of it, many of my stuffed animals are also “sans” pants.

It’s not the first time Pooh has had a brush with the politically correct police. He and his friends have come under fire before.

Town councilors in Tuszyn opposed naming a playground after Pooh because he was half-naked, and that was “inappropriate” for children.

One town official said the author, A. A. Milne, was a disturbed man for creating a “hermaphroditic, nudist bear,” according to an article in “The Washington Post.” Milne’s “bear of very little brain” was introduced in a collection of stories, Winnie-the-Pooh, in 1926.

Later, the Polish official said he was just joking.

NPG x19574; Alan Alexander ('A.A.') Milne; Christopher Robin Milne and Pooh Bear by Howard Coster

How could you ever be upset with a bear who says: “Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

Pooh can hardly be considered controversial. But some consider him and the characters in another beloved children’s book to be subversive

“The same parent group in Kansas that objected to Charlotte’s Web in 2006 also cited the talking animals of Winnie the Pooh as being an insult to God in public arguments during their quest to ban the novel by E.B. White,” according to “Banned Books Awareness.”

As Milne said, “Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.”

Winnie the Pooh, Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Snowman1

Even little Piglet has been targeted by groups that want to censor him.

“Several institutions in Turkey and the U.K. (United Kingdom) have also banned the book, claiming that the character of Piglet is offensive to Muslims,” according to BuzzFeed Books.

“The Muslim Council of Britain formally requested an end to the “well-intentioned, but misguided” policy, and for all titles to be returned to the classroom,” according to Banned Books Awareness.

There’s no shortage of conspiracy theories, including claims that Winnie the Pooh is linked to a radical political group.

This makes my puzzler sore just thinking about such things.


What are your thoughts about book banning?

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Video: Hot List: Children’s Books You Won’t Believe Are Banned   http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/05/01/hot-list-childrens-books-you-wont-believe-are-banned/

Main Photo: Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, from A.A. Milne’s “The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh,” with decorations by Ernest H. Shepard (1994). Original copyright 1926 (from a book in our family’s library).

Photo: Rocky and Bullwinkle, Winnie the Pooh, and The Snowman. Some of the beloved PANTLESS characters in my stuffed animals’ collection.

Photo: Winnie the Pooh, author A.A. Milne and his son, Christopher Robin, 1926 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ce/Christopher_Robin_Milne.jpg

Link to source: “14 Classic Children’s Books That Have Been Banned in America.” (from 1900 to 2010) http://www.buzzfeed.com/spenceralthouse/classic-childrens-books-that-have-been-banned-in-america

Video: Dav Pilkey, the creator of Captain Underpants, stars in a banned books week video. When one of my seventh-grade students tell me they want to do a report on this book, I groan and tell them to choose one with more challenging vocabulary. BUT I would NEVER tell them they can’t read it on their own time. http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/dav-pilkey-stars-in-a-banned-books-week-video_b90729

  1. It’s hard to take this stuff seriously. Don’t quite get book banning. Parents should monitor what their kids read, not deny everyone the ability to read it. Sigh.

    1. That’s my view, too, Kate. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. Parents can decide what they want their children to read. But they don’t have the right to decide that for everyone else.

  2. I would ask for a ban on all book banning and those that demand the banning, Judy, but in general principal, I think banning is bad. Would Pooh say it something like that, my friend?

  3. Thank you for giving us the latest buzz on banned books, most of which sounds bizarre to me. I have to wonder whether aeons ago some fools wanted to ban Aesop because animals talked in his storybooks. Even animals talk in the Bible; e. g., Balaam’s donkey. Oh, vey!

  4. I heard the story about poor Pooh the other day. I am totally against book banning. I’ve never understand parents and school boards that ban books. To me, that means they are against knowledge. Isn’t it better to read the books and discuss them? Ugh!

      1. Merril … When our ‘grands’ were here for Thanksgiving, I re-read one of the Treehouse books – the one where they go to the Amazon. Yes, it is fun to rediscover these books. I re-read “Treasure Island” this past month as well. Great fun!

  5. 1st world problems Judy. Some people have too much time on their hands and come up nonsense. In the words of Pooh:

    “When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”
    ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh 😉

    Diana xo

  6. Oh, Judy, I remember when a high school student thought she’d get a lot of attention–and she loved getting any kind of attention–showed up in a VERY short tee-shirt dress. It barely covered where normal underpants would end, and beneath it she wore flesh-colored pants. When the hall monitor asked if she forgotten something and should go home and find it, her reply was this:
    “If Pooh can get away with it, so can I.”
    I’m sure Milne would be doing eye rolls…

    1. Marilyn … I doubt she would be comfortable wearing that outfit walking in the wintry woods as Pooh does. Did the school send her home to change? Ours provides very ugly brown T-shirts to dress code violators. I’m not sure if it also provides slacks. 😉

      1. I think my own children when teenagers said there were some kind of huge shirts that had the school logo on them, which unfortunately made them rather popular to wear! I do think it is important for students to follow a decent clothing dress code, Judy! This is funny, though, that a high school student would even think about Pooh!

    1. They are a scary bunch, Barbara. The rebel in me objects to having someone else decide for me what is “safe.” This reminds me of the mob scene in Rod Serling’s “Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” (That was his shot at the McCarthy hearings during the Cold War.)

  7. Judy there will always be extremists who want to do this and luckily MOST people in this crazy world can think for themselves and also make that decision if the content is appropriate for their children. Why do we need someone else making these decisions for us? Love the quote.

    “Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.”

    1. Kath, you’re right. Most folks can tune out the crazies and make the best decisions on which books their children can read. It is troubling when the extremists try to take those choices away.

      Thank you. I also love Milne’s quote. I have always talked to my animals. It appears that they really do listen to me … as I try to listen to them. 😉

  8. Another example of the world gone mad. I was brought up on AA Milne: poems, Christopher Robin and Pooh and friends. There’s nothing to suggest that I have been damaged by these subversive characters. I don’t think. 😄

    1. Jenny … The fact that you, no doubt, and I are free thinkers is probably maddening to those who feel entitled to control whatever we read, view, listen to, or think. Years ago, when I bought Winnie the Pooh for our grandchildren, I decided on A. A. Milne’s version rather than Disney’s. I really like Milne’s phrasing and stories. 😉

  9. I loved Pooh, just the way he was! I also was laughing since there is a new commercial (have you seen it?) where the Pillsbury Dough boy is getting a pair of jeans for his lower half! It is kind of cute and it did not make it seem like they were censoring his prior ‘naked’ look either!
    Almost all dolls in my own daughters’ and granddaughters’ younger years got stripped down! I am not sure why Barbie is sometimes left naked, but the baby dolls were sometimes dragged into the tub.
    Judy, I don’t believe in any kind of censorship except for things exposed to children too soon in life. The pornography kept in privacy never to be shared, unless between consenting adults, that is the only ‘rules’ I would wish on society.
    As far as babies and animals, those stuffed and real ones, all should be kept innocent for as long as possible. (In other words, stuffed animals can have no clothes on!) Smiles and hugs for your being brave enough to broach this subject. I admire you, Judy!

    1. I haven’t seen the jeans-clad Pillsbury Dough Boy, although I’ve heard about the ad. This is just all so silly. I checked my stuffed animals and it’s scandalous how many are nearly nekkid or totally so. 😉

      I believe in free speech. I know there are limits. You can’t yell fire in a crowded movie theater if there is no emergency or fire. It seems you shouldn’t be able to put down a defenseless bear who is unable to go to the mall and buy clothing. I don’t think I’m particularly brave, Robin, just frosted at the flakes who meddle in other parents’ decisions and try to limit choices in reading.

      1. I love this expression, can I borrow it? “Just frosted at the flakes who….” That is a great one! Anyway, glad you still have some nekkid animals, Judy. I have a few teddy bears who all wear just bows, no Pooh, for he lives elsewhere at my grandson’s house.

    2. Robin … I found the Pillsbury Doughboy commercial. He did receive jeans as a gift, but he didn’t have them on in the ad. Cute ad, though. No explanation, however, of ‘why’ they feel jeans are needed.

      1. Oh, maybe my vivid imagination took off and I had his poor little doughy tummy trying to fit into the jeans… I sometimes don’t mean to fib! (My Mom says the same thing, when I tell her that she is either exaggerating or making something up!)

  10. I did not get a chance to read Winnie the Pooh books as a child and only came to know of them as an adult. We had different children’s books where I grew up. That aside, I have come to associate Winnie with kids because of how he looks. I never thought twice about the fact that he has no pants on and I doubt that kids notice either, so why draw their innocent attention to that fact? Like you said above, the official (most probably, the town as well) just wanted to attention.

    1. As a kid, I might think it kind of weird that a bear had clothes on. OK, maybe the jacket. But only because his Mom insisted because of the blustery weather. Zambianlady, I agree. My sneaky suspicion is the town official was looking for a little media attention. Thank you for your comments. 😉

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