Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Tao of Pooh

This weekend I enjoyed reading a short book by Benjamin Hoff titled "The Tao of Pooh". (Penguin Group [USA] Inc., New York, 1983). It includes Ernest H. Shepard's illustrations.

Author Hoff employs a somewhat cutsie and sometimes witty style of presentation using original writings of the A. A. Milne Winnie the Pooh stories and interspersed with his own writer's dialogue with those characters, in order to present a case for Tao'ism as opposed to Confusianism, Buddhism and Christianity.  While his caricatures of each leave something to be desired from a factual standpoint, it is still a lot of fun to read.  He does capture some of the essence of Tao'ism and expresses it in a friendly way; not too deeply philosophical nor theological.  I would liken it to a sort of "Tao for Dummies" except that it is more clever in its presentation than such a change of title would imply. It introduces an overview of Tao'ism in a popular writing style that is enjoyable.  If you enjoy reading about similarities and differences in world philosophies on a popular level rather than on a text book level this is a good read.  

It is the first book in a series. The second book is "The Te of Piglet".  I have just received this book in the mail and am looking forward to reading it as well.  It is a thicker volume of writing and I will be interested to see how Piglet fares in the philosophical discussion.  Pooh did fairly well for himself.

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