Teaching A.A. Milne and “Goodbye Christopher Robin”


Who was A.A. Milne?

Background

Apart from the fact that we all know the books about Winnie the Pooh, who was A.A.Milne? Did you know that he fought in world war 1?

A. A. Milne and Christopher Robin A. A. Milne and Christopher Robin Milne – playing with a toy teddy bear. CRM, son of A. A. Milne, basis of the character Christopher Robin in A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh:: 21 August 1920 – 20 April 1996. AAM, English author: 18 January 1882 – 31 January 1956. (Photo by Culture Club/Getty Images)

Winnie-the-Pooh may have secured a place in the hearts of children worldwide and made his creator a millionaire, but author AA Milne resented the way the bear of little brain undermined his reputation as a serious writer.

The revelation appears in his 1939 memoir It’s Too Late Now, which is to be republished on 21 September, 70 years after it went out of print and ahead of the release of a biopic about his son, Goodbye Christopher Robin. Despite the success of Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and friends, Milne was frustrated that his reputation as a writer for adults had been irrevocably damaged. Source: The Guardian.

The movie

With its bittersweet interweaving of fact and fantasy, youthful innocence and adult trauma, this tale of the creation of a children’s classic could have been called Saving Mr Milne. Like Mary PoppinsWinnie-the-Pooh occupies a sacred space in our hearts and anyone wishing to co-opt some of that magic must tread very lightly indeed. Director Simon Curtis’s movie could easily have tripped (like Piglet) and burst its balloon as it evokes a dappled glade of happiness surrounded by the monstrous specters of two world wars. Instead, it skips nimbly between light and dark, war and peace, like a young boy finding his way through an English wood, albeit one drenched with shafts of sugary, Spielbergian light. The Guardian

Classroom activities before watching the movie:

  1. Read through the poems by A.A. Milne here and choose one or two you like. Prepare to read one of the poems for the class.
  2. Read Six facts you may not know about A.A.Milne
  3. Who is your favorite character from the Winnie the Pooh books? Discuss in class and explain your choice

Watch the movie “Goodbye Christopher Robin”

Classroom activities after watching the movie

  1. A.A. Milne was a soldier under WW1, the war to end all wars. Describe the role of the soldier under WW1 and the trauma they experienced.
  2. How many soldiers died during WW1?
  3. When A. A. Milne returned from the war, how did he adjust?
  4. Happiness, what makes you happy? What did Christopher Robin want from his parents?
  5. Why did Christopher Robin have such trouble with the characters in his father’s books?
  6. What was his relationship with his father?
  7. What was his relationship with his nanny, how did it develop in the movie?
  8. Christopher Robin went to a private boarding school. Describe life at an all boys school before WW2.
  9. Write a post on your blog where you share your thoughts about the movie, using some of the words highlighted here as your point of departure.

 

 

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