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Should the classics be updated?

A new character called Lottie the Otter is to grace the new Winnie-the-Pooh book, publishers have announced. Is this a good idea?

The much loved bear's new friend, who appears in Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus, is said to be a "feisty" character who is good at cricket and a stickler for etiquette.

Michael Brown, chairman of the Trustees of the Pooh Properties says the new character arises naturally out of the world of AA Milne’s famous books, first published in 1926, and so, like the original stories, is timeless.

Can new characters fit in with old classics? Should classic tales be updated at all? What would you update and how?

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Published: Thursday, 1 October, 2009, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK

All comments as they come in

Added: Saturday, 3 October, 2009, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK

I'm uncomfortable with the idea of 'updating'. It is patronising to assume that people won't read classic books in their original form, but will be convinced to by a veneer of modernity (often clumsily applied).

In the case of Winnie the Pooh, I don't think that the AA Milne books can become any more bastardised than they already have been by Disney. But I don't see the point of adding new books which are unlikely to be in the spirit of the originals (which weren't really for children).

Rachael, Oxford

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Added: Saturday, 3 October, 2009, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK

If it means that children will read these books even if bowdlerised then that is a good thing. Not all the classics are that though - Winnie the Pooh is not to everybody's taste. The Railway Children is splendid however so don't ruin that by introducing 125s or closing down the local station. The charm of that story lies in the railway world and how it touches lives. Better still of course if new classics were being written instead !

Simon G, London

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Added: Saturday, 3 October, 2009, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK

I personally enjoy the classics as they are but not every teenager does. Updating a classic novel can often entice people in to reading it and I know from personal experience that this may often lead to wanting to read the original. A new character can often be the twist that gives the classic a new audience.

Sammy Blanchette, Towcester

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Added: Saturday, 3 October, 2009, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK

It's inevitable that the Orwellian Thought Police would get round to this idea- with no doubt recasting stories in the nanny-state PC mould. It started with stupidity such as renaming Noddy's gollies, and making the goblins public enemy number one.
I suppose Christopher Robin's going to be renamed Christina,or better still, Kylie, Danni, or Chantelle. That'll get the TV soap fans away from the box and into the library I'm sure.

This country's so called thinkers are pathetic.

John Bedigan, North Shields

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Added: Saturday, 3 October, 2009, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK

Winnie the Pooh had already had a comprehensive hatchet job done on it by Disney (prairie dog in 100 Acre Wood, etc) which must have had AA Milne spinning in his grave. If you ask any children who wrote Winnie the Pooh you either get (1) blank stares, (2) Is that Pooh Bear? or (3) Walt Disney.

Lottie the Otter cannot be any worse than that..

Les Crossan, Wallsend, United Kingdom

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Added: Saturday, 3 October, 2009, 11:25 GMT 12:25 UK

I'd imagine that they want to put Lottie in - to get some balance to the male heavy cast (the only female is Kanga) - and to try and pacify anyone who gets on their high horse about Kanga being a mother, the father being absent etc etc...

I don't think she should be added, my grandparents loved Winne-the-Pooh when they were kids, my parents loved it, and likewise I loved it. Three generations - and no new characters needed for any of us to enjoy it..

Jen Smith, Milton Keynes

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Added: Saturday, 3 October, 2009, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK

I'm not aware of anyone desperately wishing there are more Pooh stories. Sorry to be brutal but this just smacks of a person without the imagination or inspiration to come up with their own classic trying to build on the (financial) success of a proven story.

Natalie, Maidenhead

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Added: Saturday, 3 October, 2009, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK

Museums, art-galleries... keep artifacts away from the public-gaze; that which is hidden need-not-exist

Famous Five... must embrace Paramore, J-Dog... for this & future-generations to relate; Anne & George compete in the 'shortest-hemline competition', snear at the lack of fresh-salad. Raging-hormones as Julian & Dick lose all-interest in tracking the Kirrin Cottage thief...

Noddy needs 'better-wheels'; 20"-rims & a pimped-ride, how's he gonna 'pull' & that hat! Is Noddy gay, bi, straight?

Stephen Dawson, Manchester, United Kingdom

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Added: Saturday, 3 October, 2009, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK

We've already had Gopher (what on earth...) so rest assured there will be more along the way to enhance the sales and marketing machine. All nicely out of step with the original stories. In a few years time we'll have a robot in the mix too. Can't wait!

No, Winnie-the-Pooh stopped when A A Mile and E H Shepherd stopped creating.

Brian, UK

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Added: Saturday, 3 October, 2009, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK

Classics should be left alone they are part of the English/British Culture. Enough has been distorted let it be. I am disgusted with the tampering of our language/culture without the classics we will forget who we are

[countryjane], Bognor Regis, United Kingdom

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Added: Saturday, 3 October, 2009, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK

This is not a classic Story, But a publisher making use of a classic series of stories. All we have is a plagurising the characters and adding to them by a ghost writer. A commonm enough practice these days., when a best selling author dies.
It happens all the time on TV, the Theatre and Films.
So what is new ?
The headline is meaningless.

Edward Dowty, Kings Lynn, United Kingdom

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Added: Saturday, 3 October, 2009, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK

For the love of God no, leave them well alone we do not want the youth touch on them and destroying them forever.

Pete, Gloucester

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Added: Saturday, 3 October, 2009, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK

What?

Haven't got the talent, cannot be bothered or too lazy to start from scratch and write a children's classic for the twenty-first century?

fillandthrowpist always, United Kingdom

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Added: Saturday, 3 October, 2009, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK

Those that don't like the idea, here's an idea, don't buy the book. I'm pretty sure that they won't stop printing the old one.

If Lotte likes playing cricket, fine. At least it's not football.

paul masterton

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Added: Saturday, 3 October, 2009, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK

Hello out there!

Anybody in?

Get a life!

This is about adding a new character to NEW stories for teeny weeny children in a childrens book, NOT exactly a world changing historical event.

The many nonsensical attrocious & pathetic comments on this as with many low inteligence comments on subjects on HYS revert back to Darwins "Origination of Species" which shows we originate from same lesser forms of life.

It seems that some, have not evolved from their slug mentality!

[MrWonderfulReality]

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