The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

Tao_of_Poohred_earphonesThe Tao of Pooh starts with a description of the vinegar tasters, which is an actual painting portraying the three great eastern thinkers, Confucius, the Buddha, and Laozi over a vat of vinegar. Each tasting the vinegar of “life,” Confucius finds it sour, the Buddha finds it bitter, but Laozi, the traditional founder of Taoism, finds it satisfying. Then the story unfolds backing up this analogy.

Hoff presents Winnie-the-Pooh and related others from A. A. Milne’s stories as characters that interact with him while he writes The Tao of Pooh, but also quotes excerpts of their tales from Milne’s actual books Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, in order to exemplify his points. Hoff uses many of Milne’s characters to symbolize ideas that differ from or accentuate Taoist tenets. Winnie-the-Pooh himself, for example, personifies the principles of wei wu wei, the Taoist concept of “effortless doing,” and pu, the concept of being open to but unburdened by experience. In contrast, characters like Owl and Rabbit over-complicate problems, often over-thinking to the point of confusion, and Eeyore pessimistically complains and frets about existence, unable to just be. Hoff regards Pooh’s simpleminded nature, unsophisticated worldview and instinctive problem-solving methods as conveniently representative of the Taoist philosophical foundation. The book also incorporates translated excerpts from various prominent Taoist texts, from authors such as Laozi and Zhuangzi. (This material is from Wikipedia)

This book has been nominated in three Audie categories!

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Here is the wonderful review from AudioFile Magazine:

With his delicious British accent, Simon Vance is the perfect choice for this beguiling gem. His crisp diction offers clarity while maintaining a warmth that invites the listener to settle back and enjoy another–albeit grown-up–adventure with friends from A.A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood. But don’t dismiss this as a children’s story. Hoff’s text is ingenious as he uses these childhood icons and their tales to present Tao’s message of simplicity, tolerance, and peace. With his unerring sense of pacing, Vance delivers instructive passages in a conversational tone, then seamlessly becomes Pooh, Eeyore, Owl, and Rabbit. Hoff and Vance have created an audio classic, offering a unique and delightful experience that gently instructs as it entertains. M.O.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2013 Audies Winner © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine

About Simon

Simon is an actor who found his way into audiobook narrating as a side-gig and seems to have made a success of it. With some training as an actor as a child (just a couple of hours a week, but it stuck) and 15 years working inside the BBC (ending up as one of the presenters/newsreaders on BBC Radio 4 in London) he found the ideal combination for an audiobook narrator. Found his way to California two decades ago and never left.

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