This summer, for a limited time only, my brother and I have collaborated to open the Literary Fantasy World Tour Company just for you! Check out our newest tour offerings below!
Tour Option 9: The Hundred Acre Wood and surrounding lands
Tour guide: Winnie-the-Pooh
(The World of Pooh by A. A. Milne)
If you’re looking to vacation in a truly idyllic countryside then look no further than the Hundred Acre Wood. Join Winnie-the-Pooh as he takes you to visit with his friends and explore the forest, meadows and swamps around his home. He’s a loveable bear stuffed with fluff. While not the smartest bear you will ever meet, he is by far the friendliest. While the woods may seem a tranquil one, you’d be surprised, there is so much to be done: Try stealing honey from bees using a balloon, stop by Rabbit’s house for lunch, help the gloomy Eeyore find his tail, or go for a bounce with Tigger and little Roo. Gather up all your friends for an expedition to find the North Pole with the young boy Christopher Robin, or play a round of Poohsticks by the river with Piglet. We advise packing rain gear as the forest may sometimes flood. Structures may not be built to code, as they have a tendency to collapse or fall down. Also be on the lookout for Heffalumps and Woozles.
Tour Option 10: The Kingdom of Wisdom in the Lands Beyond
Tour guide: Milo
(The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster)
The package containing the tollbooth will arrive shortly, some assembly required. Once prepared, simply deposit your fare and proceed through to the Lands Beyond. Milo, a courteous young boy, will drive you. Have your destination in mind. You will first pass through Expectations. Once beyond Expectations, be careful to keep thinking or you may end up in the Doldrums. Meet local residents like Tock, the watchdog whose watch goes “tic.” Next on the tour is the city of Dictionopolis, where words grow on trees. Explore the word market and challenge the Spelling Bee to spell a word as he buzzes about, just keep him away from the doubting Humbug. Join in a royal banquet with King Azaz where you’ll eat your words. Next, travel through the forest of sight and watch the orchestra play the colors of the world, and in the valley of sound get a tour of the vaults that keep every sound ever made. As you drive by the Island of Conclusions, be careful not to jump to it. Then it’s on to the city of numbers, Digitopolis. See the number mines and meet its ruler, the Mathmagician. From there, drive through the Mountains of Ignorance, though beware of the demons who inhabit them, and then up to the Castle in the Air. Finally, Return through the tollbooth. You will only be allowed one trip through the tollbooth, but we’re quite sure those really wanting to return or visit new lands will find a way to reach them by themselves.
Know Before You Go:
Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne, published in 1926, is one of the most iconic children’s stories ever written. Both it and the sequel House at Pooh Corner, published two years later, are included in the anthology The World of Pooh. Since its publication, very few have grown up without nostalgic memories of the Hundred Acre Wood, and for good reason. Milne’s writing perfectly captures childhood innocence and wonder. This is because the author’s inspiration was drawn from playing with his own young son, Christopher Robin, and the boy’s stuffed animals. In Milne’s stories Christopher Robin plays the adult of the Hundred Acre Wood, solving the problems of his animal friends with childlike logic. As the story progresses, Christopher Robin begins to grow up, and at the end he confides in Pooh that he must soon leave the forest and will no longer have time to play or “do nothing.” This ending of his childhood innocence, and leaving of the forest to gain knowledge, is a story as old as the bible. Instead of leaving paradise as a punishment however, in Milne’s work it is the tragedy of growing up. It is bittersweet, as Christopher Robin makes Pooh promise to never forget him, even after the boy stops “doing nothing.”
The Phantom Tollbooth, written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer, is a celebration of the English language itself. Published in 1961, the book is a near constant stream of puns and wordplay. The Phantom Tollbooth teaches the reader, along with Milo, to appreciate language and learning. The plot, in which a character gains an appreciation of one’s own world by exploring a strange and different world, is well worn in fantasy literature. It is similar in this respect to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and to a lesser extent The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Few authors, however, have taught so much about logic and reason while using this common storyline. While Carroll and Baum challenge the reader’s imagination simply with absurdity, Juster uses the absurdity to teach. For example, he gives physical embodiment to concepts such as states of mind, sounds, and puns. Much of the wordplay will require re-reads of the book at different ages to be appreciated, but a return to the Lands Beyond is always worth the trip.
So there you have it, a list of just some of the many tours we offer this summer right from your lawn chair. This selection offers something for everyone, whether this is your first time being a tourist in a far away land, or are already an experienced traveler. First class tickets are available for free at your local library.
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