Winnie the Pooh has a certain way about him, a certain simplicity that makes him irresistibly the world’s most beloved bear. He loves honey and friendship and is almost adorably forgetful and naive. So who better to explain an ancient Chinese philosophy than Pooh Bear, right?
Yes, I was skeptical at first, but The Taoism of Pooh has a certain sweetness to it, a special innocence and simplicity that reminded me of a bear I once met at Pooh Corner…
Through witty dialogue between himself and the beloved Winnie the Pooh, author Benjamin Hoff explains the ideas and methods of Taoism in his short book, The Taoism of Pooh. Referencing real situations from A.A. Milne’s brilliant collection of stories, the principals of Taoism begin to come to life.
Why use Winnie the Pooh, you may ask? Because Pooh is simple…he just is. Pooh represents the innocence in all of us, the desire to know and learn. He’s what Hoff calls the “uncarved block”…he enjoys simplicity and daily progress. Hoff then compares Pooh to other characters at Pooh Corner, each of which represent a type of person, making every reader able to associate with at least one of the characters. Hoff then uses those characters to explain the basic principles of Taoism.
Sound confusing? I thought so, too. While I didn’t LOVE this book, I can say that it did leave me feeling a little more serene…a little more at peace. If you’ve ever been interested in Eastern philosophy, this is a great intro into the basics of Taoism, without going too much into detail. This would be a great stocking stuffer for someone who’s looking to simplify their life or who may be questioning their beliefs.
All in all, The Taoism of Pooh is perhaps subtle proof that many children’s stories, like A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh Collection, are not always written for the audience that adopts them…
NEXT WEEK: The Dude doth abide.
Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.