A.A. Milne’s little books do not contain any blunt moral instruction, but there are plenty of lessons to be learned in the Hundred Acre Wood: the importance of friendship, the dangers of xenophobia, that even Very Small Animals can be brave on Blustery Days, and to not eat so much that you get stuck in a burrow. The other animals all look up to the wise Owl, though he misspells his own name, WOL. Reading this little irony, I look forward to the day my son can get the joke – but there is more to it than just a laugh. Later, Milne remarks on why Owl is so admired, “You can’t help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn’t spell it right; but spelling isn’t everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn’t count.”

There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn’t count. That’s what I really can’t wait for my son to understand. It’s something I find myself saying to myself almost every day now.

That’s woe transformed to joy, right there.

Why Children’s Books Matter