I finally picked up my library hold shelf copy of Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, the authorized "sequel" to A.A. Milne's original Pooh classics. I've only read the introduction and the first story, but so far am cautiously optimistic. David Benedictus mostly seems to "get" Milne's voice and rhythm, and the illustrations by Mark Burgess gently mimic E.H. Shepard's original illustrations. They're also colored with lovely, light washes of color.
I know my friend Erin, Pooh devotee extraordinaire, enjoyed it, but I hear it's not getting very good reviews overall. When my husband picked the book up at the library, the librarian basically told him to tell me not to get my hopes up because the early reviews have been dreadful.
The sweet girl was curious about the book, so I explained to her that this author and artist have been given permission by the people who own the rights to the original Pooh stories, to write and draw more stories like them. I tried to explain the notion of similar styles, and I explained how long ago the original Pooh books were written because I wasn't sure she realized just how old they were (we do love them!).
When she was getting ready for her bath this evening she paused to look at the cover of the book, then said, in a rather disapproving voice, "Why is Piglet's sweater green?"
"What?" I asked, having (I must confess) not noticed this detail of the cover art.
"Why is Piglet's sweater green? It should be pink." And then she added, in a resigned tone, "Maybe the man who drew the new pictures for this new book just didn't know what color Piglet's sweater should be."
I guess everyone's a critic, even my seven year old. That Pooh bar is set pretty high!