Book to Movie: Winnie-the-Pooh Book Review, Christopher Robin
Updated: Sep 16
Category: Camellias on Moss-a story that transcends the human experience
Genre: Fiction, Children's Fiction
I adore Winnie-the-Pooh. Before I learned about Disney, there were adventures with Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Woods. I didn’t grow up with a TV, but I had many different versions of the books—short companion novels, pop-up books, longer chapter books. I even had multiple stuffed animals—all Pooh—and even one with a honeypot that sang his famous song. Looking back, I can’t remember what exactly it was that delighted me so, but I can feel a tangible sense of nostalgia. Pooh feels safe. His stories are delightful. He is cared for and he cares for his friends. There is no trouble that can’t be figured out and solved by the end of the day. The problem is never what it seems and if you just look at it from a different angle, then you’ll find an answer to the question, though there may be several right answers.
A. A. Milne’s style of writing is similar to Lewis Carrol’s, and perhaps that’s why I love it. It breaks the fourth wall. You are the little girl getting tucked into bed with a bedtime story, and you are part of the story, humming with Pooh and doing nothing with Christopher Robin and bounding along with Tigger. You are both drawn to and able to identify with every character.
When I got older, it didn’t surprise me that each character could be seen as the personification of a mental diagnosis: Pooh was PTSD and Disassociation, Piglet was Anxiety, Eeyore was Depression, Tigger was ADHD and Bi-Polar, Rabbit was OCD and Narcissism, Owl was Dyslexia, Kanga was Social Anxiety, Roo was Autism, and Christopher Robin was Schizophrenia. And it made sense that I identified the most with Pooh, the lovable bear who was just looking for a snack, who would do anything for a friend, who loved Christopher Robin more than anything else, and who just wanted to be remembered.
The precursor to Inside Out, Winnie-the-Pooh normalized childhood (and adult) exploration of emotional health through the personification of our emotions. In no place are Pooh’s stories better adapted than in the 2018 film, Christopher Robin. The movie delivers on the nostalgia, bringing to life the wonderful of our favorite childhood friends. The movie honors the original stories, giving us characters who are true to their nature, interacting with each other and saying the quintessential lines we know so well. The movie steals us away to the beauty and stillness of the Hundred Acre Woods and we are at peace. And the movie honors the seriousness of growing up. Ewan McGregor gives us a mirror to see ourselves reflected. So many of us have been children who had to grow up too fast, who faced grief well beyond our years, who were congratulated on being “old souls,” as if that was aspirational. As we watch the movie Christopher Robin unfold and we witness the little boy Christopher Robin grow up, we remember the pain of losing our innocence, of what parts of ourselves we had to leave behind to “enter the real world,” and the trauma that accompanies us through this transition.
It was all so hard and that’s what made Winnie-the-Pooh so special. He gave us hope. And reminded us that it's not impossible to keep hope alive. As he says, “People say nothing is impossible. But I do nothing everyday.”