Saturday, January 19, 2019

When We Were Very Young

When We Were Very Young. A.A. Milne. 1924. 100 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: At one time (but I have changed my mind now) I thought I was going to write a little Note at the top of each of these poems, in the manner of Mr. William Wordsworth, who liked to tell his readers where he was staying, and which of his friends he was walking with, and what he was thinking about, when the idea of writing his poem came to him.

Premise/plot: When We Were Very Young is a collection of poems dedicated to A.A. Milne's son, Christopher Robin Milne, aka Billy Moon. It was, I believe, Milne's first work for children. It wouldn't be his last.

My thoughts: If I loved poetry more, I think I would appreciate When We Were Very Young more than I do. I found the introduction charming. It does contain plenty of poems that I like, love, or even adore. Poems that are easier perhaps to adore if you were lucky enough to have heard them sung. (Winnie the Pooh: 17 Songs from the Pooh Song Book: Starring Jack Gilford. The album features: "Sing Ho! For the Life of A Bear," "Cottleston Pie," "Lines Written By A Bear of Very Little Brain," "Oh! The Butterflies are Flying," "I Lay On My Chest," "3 Cheers for Pooh," "They All Went Off To Discover the Pole," "Christopher Robin is Going," "Missing," "In the Fashion," "Halfway Down," Buckingham Palace," "Politeness," "The Christening," "Brownie," "Lines and Squares," and "Vespers."). My favorite poems from When We Were Very Young are:
 
Buckingham Palace
Lines and Squares
Politeness
Missing
Halfway Down
Teddy Bear

From Teddy Bear
A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat
Which is not to be wondered at;
He gets what exercise he can
By falling off the ottoman,
But generally seems to lack
The energy to clamber back.
From Missing
Has anybody seen my mouse?
I opened his box for half a minute,
Just to make sure he was really in it,
And while I was looking, he jumped outside!
I tried to catch him, I tried, I tried...
I think he's somewhere about the house.
Has anyone seen my mouse?
From Buckingham Palace
They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace--
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Alice is marrying one of the guard.
"A soldier's life is terrible hard,"
Says Alice.
Do you have a favorite Milne poem? 

Original audience born circa 1918-1922. 

© 2019 Becky Laney of Young Readers

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