Book By Benjamin Hoff

Winnie-the-Pooh is making a come back!! AND now we have a book on the philosophy of this most adorable bear, and his little friend, Piglet. All this in the series of books The Wisdom of Pooh. Actually, The Tao of Pooh was first publish in 1982, and The Te of Piglet in 1992. The books are Benjamin Hoff's explanations of the Eastern philosophy of Taoism and Te through the actions and thoughts of Pooh I'm-a-bear-of-very-little-brain-and-long-words-bother-me and Piglet a Very Small Animal.

If you can stand the inane comments from Christopher Robin's friends: Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Owl, Kanga and Roo, then this is a gentle book of humour with lots of cute B/W drawings of the abovementioned characters. Hoff narrates through conversations with Pooh and Co., with plenty of stories from the writings of Lao-Tse in Tao Te Ching, and from the writer Chuang-tse, intermingled with the adventures of these little cute things.

The Tao of Pooh - Contents :
Foreword, The How of Pooh, The Tao of Who?, Spelling Tuesday, Cottleston Pie, The Pooh Way, Bisy Backson, That Sort of Bear, Nowhere and Nothing, The Now of Pooh, Backword.

The Te of Piglet - Contents :
What? Another One?, Interjection, The - What Was That Again? - of Piglet, Very Small Animal, The Eeyore Effect, The Tigger Tendency, Things as They Might Be, Things As They Are, The Upright Heart, The Day of Piglet, Farewell.

To be read only when you have time on your hands and want to contemplate the true meaning of your existence. But, You Are.
While Eeyore frets...
and Tigger bounces...
and Owl pontificates
.... Pooh just is.

The current edition of the Tao of Pooh is sold packaged together with The Te of Piglet, which is Benjamin Hoff's follow up to the successful first book. I thought the idea of using characters familiar from most Westerners childhood to explain Eastern philosophy was excellent and The Tao of Pooh is quite an enjoyable (and possibly enlightening) read. However, The Te of Piglet at times leaves off entirely the world of Pooh-bear and launches into a critique of Western society.

These criticisms of the Western way of doing things may be valid (though that's quite subjective), but I personally felt they were out of place in the book. I suspect that Hoff used the pretext of expanding on the concept of explaining Eastern thought through Pooh to increase exposure to his political views. The bundling together of the two books (I doubt The Te of Piglet would have been as popular on its own) seems to further my suspicion.

The Tao of Pooh is worth a read, and like Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenence is a good introduction to pop-Eastern Philosophy.

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