I received a copy of The Tao of Pooh this year as a Christmas gift from a friend. This is one of those little books I considered picking up in the 1990s, when it was all the rage and I was in graduate school in hippy dippy, Buddhisty, tai chi, Tao heaven--Berkeley. For some inexplicable reason, I never did. Having received it as a gift, however, I decided it was high time I read about Winnie the Pooh and Taoism. It's a quick, easy read. I read it over a day and a half (which is good for me. It can sometimes take me weeks to read a book because I don't dedicate extended chunks of time to it. I read in dribs and drabs. Sidenote: why does that phrase always sound obscene? Anyway...)
At a mere 158 pages, Benjamin Hoff, a self-confessed Taoist, uses A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh and His Friends to explain the age-old principles of Taoism. "While Eeyore frets... and Piglet hesitates... and Rabbit calculates... and Owl pontificates... Pooh just is," reads the dust cover. The point of Taoism is learn to live in harmony with the earth, the heavens, and all that we encounter in life. I suppose for the western mind, teaching Taoism requires a metaphor or a symbol that we can understand and relate to. In this sense, Hoff's book is rather Taoist in its approach to teaching.
Perhaps the book didn't resonate that deeply with me because I experienced some of its precepts of living in the present through a course I took in grad school--Spirituality in World Religions. I've had a taste of Taoism and it is indeed sweet. If you've wondered about or tried to grasp the principles of Lao-Tsu, this is a good book to start that "journey of a thousand miles" which always "begins with one step."
Out of five stars, I'll give this one a three and a half for its simple format and metaphors.