“Kate will love it. I will love it! We can see the actual locations she has read about!”
Truth be told, Winnie the Pooh was an adult enthusiasm I had come to recently, with my daughter. As a boy, I knew nothing of Christopher Robin or, for that matter, the Railway Children, or Billy Bunter or the Famous Five, or Just William, or Narnia, or Mister Toad and the other river bankers. In fact, I hardly knew any children’s books at all.
My parents bought me toys and I had lots of stuffed animals, but books rarely made it onto my list. After baby books, I didn’t know interesting kids books existed and I don’t think my parents did either. Yet all the books I read to Kate were in the library at my old school, and at the children’s public library in Dagenham. All I needed was a library card. And to get a library card, all I had to do was recite the alphabet. Easy peasy. Anyone could do that. Anyone, that is, except me. Absurdly, I always fumbled the test. The annoying thing was, by the time I was seven, I could read quite well but still could not memorize the alphabet.
I took the test every other week, and every other week I failed. Finally it happened. Despite a few pauses and the odd stutter or two, I made it through to zed and got my library card. I was ten years old by then, and too old for whimsical tales of river creatures and bears with a fondness for hunny. So, along with Kate, I had recently discovered a pantheon of children’s literature. I loved those stories as much as she did. And now, on a sunny Sunday in June, we had a chance to visit Pooh Corner, find the Enchanted Place. Quite impossible to pass up.