Study Guide

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh What's Up With the Epigraph?

By A. A. Milne

What's Up With the Epigraph?

Winnie-the-Pooh:

To Her

Hand in hand we come

            Christopher Robin and I

To lay this book in your lap.

            Say you're surprised?

            Say you like it?

            Say it's just what you wanted?

                        Because it's yours—

                        Because we love you.

The House at Pooh Corner:

You gave me Christopher Robin, and then

            You breathed new life in Pooh.

Whatever of each has left my pen

            Goes homing back to you.

My book is ready, and comes to greet

            The mother it longs to see—

It would be my present to you, my sweet,

            If it weren't your gift to me.

Okay, so technically these are dedications, not epigraphs. How do we know? Well, Milne wrote them, so it's not a quote taken from somewhere else, like an epigraph usually is. And they're written to a specific person: his wife. That's right, to add just one more sugary layer onto the sweetness that is A. A. Milne's tribute to his son, the author writes poems to the love of his life to dedicate both books. You're making us all look bad, A. A.

But these are more than just sweet. The story is that Milne's wife, Daphne, was the one who suggested that Milne write a children's book about their son's stuffed animals. By offering a nod to her role, Milne's dedications further ground his narrative structure in his own personal reality. When we connote a very real family with the dynamics between the narrator and Christopher Robin (the listener), this adds to the intimacy of the overall tone. These books were a labor of love.

We also see a nugget of Milne's aesthetic perspective here too. Even though he's the one who writes these things, he still considers himself the recipient of a gift, as if the stories just came to him. This reminds us quite a bit of how Pooh creates his songs and poems, no? And Daphne, we, too, thank you for your gift.