Saturday, January 10, 2009

Winnie the Pooh to the Rescue

It is not too early to think about next Christmas's big hot book and with the news that Winnie The Pooh will return to print there is some hope that the little bear will save book retailing.

The Times is reporting that a book is in the making:

The challenge for David Benedictus and Mark Burgess, the author and illustrator of the new book, is to revive one of the best-loved children’s series of all time in a way that proves sympathetic to the originals without veering into pastiche.

Since 1961 Disney has owned the film, television and merchandising rights to the character of Pooh and created its own spin-off adventures. E. H. Shepard, the Punch staff cartoonist who illustrated the original books, condemned the first Disney film as “a complete travesty”.

Many fans regard the American corporation’s subsequent efforts, which have included the introduction of a gopher character and Christopher Robin’s recent replacement by a girl named Darby, as even less acceptable.

The content of the new book is a closely guarded secret but Mr Benedictus said that it would pick up where The House at Pooh Corner left off, with Christopher Robin returning from school to play with his friends. He refused to say whether the beloved “bear of very little brain” would be joined by new characters.

Michael Brown, for the trustees who manage the affairs of A. A. Milne and E. H. Shepard, said that he had been hoping to give the green light to a sequel for a very long time.

According to Reuters, Winnie is a bear stuffed with diamonds, wears a diamond encrusted waistcoat and has a dowry larger than the Shah of Iran and generates over $6 Bill in revenues per year. The revenue generated was subject of a lawsuit between Disney and family of the literary agent who helped popularize the bear in the US. Disney eventually won.

Disney don't get anything from the new book but the two groups would be nuts not to work together but who sees that happening?

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