Monday, January 12, 2009


One of the most anticipated events and shining new hopes in publishing, if you are not already depressed as an out-of-work writer, is a revival of the Winnie The Pooh brand. Publisher Dutton Books and author David Benedictus plan to have great sales with a retread of Christopher Robin and friends.

I ran this past my children who like many youngsters, including someone not now so spry as me, had the enchantment of A.A. Milne's characters to grace their childhoods. The immediate reaction from my very literate offspring was "What!!!" There was a general cry of shock and horror that these books of strong character identifications and mythology were being sold like cereal. The visceral yelps led to a long, about a half hour at the least, vilification of publishers who try to cash in on their readers' fond memories for short-term profit. Books were, and are, the friends who comfort us when the world seems too big. Tampering with these emotions with a written mockup (mockery?) destroys the child's primary experience and love of the elemental literature.

I am not sorry to comment that I am a literary traditionalist and that I have given these values to my children. An individual's genius, their spirit, cannot be copied and packaged like any other product. The publishing companies are in trouble not because brands such as Winnie The Pooh are insufficient but because book marketers are not bold and will not chance original writers to hook and engage new readers.

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