Saturday, January 10, 2009

Extending the Bear Franchise

What the hey? Publisher E.F. Dutton is bringing out a new installment of Winnie the Pooh:

...[T]he first authorized sequel to A.A. Milne's "Winnie-the-Pooh" and "The House at Pooh Corner" [will be] published Oct. 5 under the title "Return to the Hundred Acre Wood."

... In an interview, Michael Brown, a trustee for the Pooh Properties Trust, noted that sequel rights had been retained by Mr. Milne's estate.

Obviously, Disney has been doing sequels and one-offs from the Winnie cornucopia for years ... and made billions in the process. But the book is the first literary sequel since Milne ceased writing children's books in the 1920s.

For an English writer who didn't want to be type-cast ... and who, prior to Winnie, was known for his stage plays and a popular novel entitled "The Red House Mystery" that is remembered today (when it's remembered at all) for the slicing and dicing Raymond Chandler gave it in Chandler's essay "The Simple Art of Murder" ... a sequel to "Pooh" would probably trigger mixed feelings.

But then, the fact that Milne's slim works about a stuffed bear have enriched so many over so many years -- and kept A. A. Milne a household name -- would no doubt amaze and bemuse the pacifist army veteran as well.


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