Saturday, 5 December 2015

Tigger Warnings

So there I was, reading The House at Pooh Corner, when suddenly, without warning, I was bounced.

I had loved Winnie-the-Pooh. I had really identified with all of the characters; I was Pooh (of course) but also Piglet. There is Eeyore in me, and also Rabbit; Owl and Kanga, and of course Roo.

But reading the sequel, after a deceptive first chapter, in which all was as it should be, suddenly, in Chapter 2, I was bounced. There was Tigger: a new and threatening character, introduced with no warning.

I had always loved the 100 Acre Wood as a Safe Space. So you will appreciate my sense of violation. Moreover, a friend of mine was once nearly run over by a Jagular sports car, so the gratuitous introduction of the Jagular sub-plot - again without any warning - was deeply disturbing.

And lest anyone thinks I am over-sensitive, I would point out that Rabbit, Eeyore and Piglet all find Tigger threatening in their various ways. In particular the violent scene in which Tigger bounces Eeyore into the river is profoundly upsetting. 

Of course, I am not calling for the complete censorship of Tigger; there may be those who are in some perverse way gratified by his bouncing. But I do think we should be able to declare the 100 Acre Wood a Safe Space, and moreover, that his appearance in any book should always be preceded by a Tigger Warning.


Charlesdawson said...

You raise an interesting point in jest: when did the frighteners get banned from childrens' books (and films)? The classics specifically written for children, which I was read to, and later read, when a child, all contained darkness as well as light: remember the denizens of the Wild Wood in Wind in the Willows, Captain Hook and his crocodile in Peter Pan, the forest fire in Bambi, the sufferings of little Tom in The Water Babies, the poisoned apple in Snow White etc, and so on? The absolute absence of any such threats in AA Milne is one reason why Dorothy Parker despised the books so much. When did it become accepted practice to present children with a world full only of fluffy bunnies and sunshine, and why?

Ben Trovato said...

Thanks - an interesting point; though I think there is much dark (and sometimes too dark) material in books for older children now.

And you reminded me of Beachcomber's glorious satire of Milne, which I have now blogged.

So thanks once more!