Winnie-the-Pooh | Study Guide

A.A. Milne

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Winnie-the-Pooh | Chapter 7 : In Which Kanga and Baby Roo Come to the Forest, and Piglet Has a Bath | Summary

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Summary

Rabbit is displeased at the sudden appearance of Kanga and Roo. He devises a plan to get rid of them and enlists Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet to help. Pooh will distract Kanga with some poetry or hums, Rabbit will snatch Roo and run very fast, and Piglet will jump into Kanga's pocket, masquerading as Roo. By the time Kanga notices the deception, Rabbit will have had a head start and be far away with Baby Roo. Rabbit, Pooh, and Piglet will then say "Aha," indicating they know where Roo is and are willing to ransom him for a promise of leaving the forest. Despite complications—Kanga is faster than Rabbit, Piglet is anxious, and Kanga is not interested in poetry—the plan seems to succeed. Piglet is dropped into Kanga's pocket, and Rabbit hops away with Roo. When Kanga gets home, she notices the substitution. Knowing Christopher Robin will keep Roo safe, she decides to have a joke on Rabbit, Pooh, and Piglet. Pretending she believes Piglet to be Roo, Kanga gets him ready for his bath. Piglet keeps shouting "Aha." However, he has no backup; Rabbit is enjoying himself at his house playing with Roo, and Pooh is pretending to be a Kangaroo, jumping in the sand. Kanga gives a terrified Piglet a bath and then medicine, all the while telling him to be a good Roo, or he'll grow up to be weak, like Piglet.

Finally, Christopher Robin arrives. Piglet begs him to tell Kanga he isn't Roo, which he does, since he has just seen Roo playing at Rabbit's house. But Christopher Robin cannot believe he is Piglet, as he is an entirely different color after a bath. Christopher Robin names the new creature Henry Pootel. Henry Pootel runs out of the house and rolls in the dirt, re-emerging as Piglet. Kanga and Roo stay in the forest, and every Tuesday Kanga teaches Pooh how to be a kangaroo, Rabbit plays with Roo, and Piglet spends some time with Christopher Robin.

Analysis

Kanga and Roo figure prominently in this story. Kanga proves herself able to give as well as she gets; by pretending not to know Roo is missing and forcing Piglet to bathe and take his medicine, she sends a clear message to the rest of the forest residents. She is kind and good, but don't mess with her.

Rabbit, fond of taking charge, feels threatened by Kanga and Roo. Perhaps he feels this way because of Kanga's being an adult, a role he typically fills; or having a family, which Rabbit has, unlike the others; or Roo's upsetting Rabbit's orderly world with his eagerness and tendency to get into things. For whatever reason Rabbit wants them out of the forest, and he wants to devise the plan to make their departure a reality. He gets the opportunity to show off his ingenuity and go back to being the adult among the animals.

Pooh, not wanting to disappoint his friends, goes along with the plan. However, when he is distracted by jumping, he forgets his friend Piglet and continues to play.

Piglet is his most anxious and his most brave when alone. He confronts Kanga with his "Aha" even through his anxiety. For a very small animal, he is indeed brave. It is Piglet's desire for recognition that compels him to listen to Rabbit in the first place. The disappointment of Christopher Robin, from whom all the animals crave attention, not recognizing him (or pretending not to recognize him) must be great.

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