You don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Jim, da do da do ...
-- "Don't Mess Around With Jim" by Jim Croce.
This old song started running through by brain when I saw the press release for "Return to the Hundred Acre Wood," by David Benedictus.
After 80 years, this is the first authorized sequel to A.A. Milne's "Winnie-the-Pooh" and "The House at Pooh Corner." Before protesting with, "Say it isn't so!" and "How could they?" I grudgingly read the book ... and enjoyed it.
Now, with slightly guarded enthusiasm, I recommend the book. It's not the real thing, but it's closer than many other sequels that butchered the originals.
Reviews range from "wonderful" to "dreadful." I think my best advice is to enjoy the "real" Pooh books before reading this one. If it offends you to deal with Christopher Robin growing up and going to school, not to mention the introduction of a totally new character, limit yourself and the children you love to the first two classics.
"The Mitten" a picture book by Jan Brett is celebrating a 20-year anniversary as a beloved children's classic.
Along comes "The Mitten" by Jim Aylesworth, illustrated by Barbara McClintock. This strikes me as a case of "tugging on Superman's cape," but you be the judge.
"Black Beauty," the classic chapter book by Anna Sewell, is now in picture-book format adapted by Sharon Lerner and illustrated (lavishly, gorgeously illustrated) by the renowned Susan Jeffers. Jeffers has illustrated this book previously, but this version is better suited to children ages 5 to 7.
A lot of plot happens in a short space, some of which may require explaining. I think the best reason to read this book to children is that it may lead them to read the "real" book.
In a way, it takes temerity to "adapt" a classic such as "Black Beauty," but it could be for a greater good.
My advice is to stand by, be forewarned and brace yourselves. Now that "Where the Wild Things Are" is a movie, absolutely anything can (and probably will) happen.
Contact Fran Hawk at email@example.com.