Michael Morpurgo: I wouldn’t have messed with Winnie-the-Pooh

Winnie-the-Pooh is a book I grew up with. The adventures of Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore have endured because they’re so beautifully crafted and wonderfully endearing. But I’m not convinced that what this set-up needs is a new character – a dog called Carmen – to make AA Milne’s stories any more perfect than they already are.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t retell old tales with new audiences in mind. In my time, I’ve written my own version of Beowulf, I’ve turned Raymond Briggs’s picturebook The Snowman into a children’s novella, and I’ve retold The Wizard of Oz from the point of view of Toto. Another pointless dog.

But if this Winnie-the-Pooh idea had been suggested to me – a rewrite, with a new character added into the mix, with the approval of the Milne estate – I’d have said no for two reasons: I do so love the original, and I’m not sure anyone can really pull it off.


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