Winnie-the-Pooh's Back, But Who Invited The Otter?

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Return tthe Hundred Acre Wood

The Winnie-the-Pooh sequel, "Return to the Hundred Acre Wood," has been met with criticism. Credit: Amazon.com

What's with the otter?

After 81 years, we finally learn what happens to Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet and the rest of the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood. And curiously, there's an otter involved.

Some Pooh purists are not at all amused by first officially sanctioned sequel to A.A. Milne's classic children's tales, "Return to the Hundred Acre Wood." Characters have been added to the pantheon before, most notably a gopher with a speech impediment. But that was for the Disney cartoons.

Milne's original work has always been considered sacrosanct. Now The New York Times reports not everyone is happy with the sequel published this month.

"It's just too much to hope that someone who isn't the original writer will capture the voice, character, setting, pacing (and all the other elements of bookmaking) in the right measure," children's book author Elizabeth Bluemle told The Times.

Bluemle is also the co-owner of the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vt., and president of the Association of Booksellers for Children. She told The Times that sequels to beloved children's books are usually "thin soup" and distract children from the superior originals.

There is already a distinct difference between the Pooh children see in the books and the one that appears on TV screens and T-shirts. The Walt Disney Company owns the merchandising rights to Milne's characters. Pooh Properties Trust oversees the original books.

Trust officials gave David Benedictus, an English writer, permission to pen 10 new stories for a new book called "Return to the Hundred Acre Woods." Not much has changed, Benedictus told The Times.

Christopher Robin has not aged a day since 1928. The only big change is Lottie the Otter, who shows up wearing a string of pearls and sporting a saucy attitude. Any other changes are just minor tweaks, Benedictus told The Times.

"I made Eeyore a little more proactive so he wasn't always the victim, although you can't turn him into Gary Cooper or something," he told the paper.

What do you think? Should sequels be written to classic children's books?

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