Sonderling Sunday – Finding Eeyore’s Schwanz

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday! That time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of children’s books.

Today I’m back to Pu der Bär, by A. A. Milne, better known to English speakers as Winnie-the-Pooh.


Last time we looked at Pu, we finished Kapitel Drei, so today we’ll look at Chapter Four — “In Which Eeyore Loses a Tail and Pooh Finds One,” which is to say, In welchem I-Ah einen Schwanz verliert und Pu einen findet.

I like lots of parts of the first sentence:

“The Old Grey Donkey, Eeyore” = Der alte graue Esel, I-Ah

“a thistly corner of the forest” = einem distelbewachsenen Winkel des Waldes
(“a thistle-overgrown angle of the forest”)

“his front feet well apart” = die Vorderbeine gespreizt

“his head on one side” = den Kopf auf eine Seite gelegt

“and thought about things” = und dachte über alles nach

“Inasmuch as which?” = Inwiefern? (“To what extent?”)

“came stumping along” = herangestapft kam

“gloomy manner” = düsterer Weise

I’m having fun imagining a reason to say this in Germany:
“Why, what’s happened to your tail?”
= Was ist den mit deinem Schwanz passiert?

“with a long, sad sigh” = mit einem langen, traurigen Seufzer

“solemnly” = feierlich

“So Winnie-the-Pooh went off to find Eeyore’s tail.”
= Also machte Winnie-der-Pu auf den Weg um I-Ahs Schwanz zu finden.

“Little soft clouds played happily in a blue sky”
= Kleine, weiche Wolkenspielten froh an einem blauen Himmel

“skipping from time to time in front of the sun”
= hüpften hin und wieder vor die Sonne

“dowdy” = ungepflegt

“copse and spinney” = Gehölz und Dickicht (“woods and thickets”)

“down open slopes of gorse and heather” = offene Hänge voller Stechginster und Heidekraut hinab

“rocky beds of streams” = felsige Flussbetten

“steep banks of sandstone” = steile Böschungen aus Sandstein

“If anyone knows anything about anything”
= Wenn irgendwer irgendwas über irgendwas weiß

“Chestnuts” = Kastanien

“knocker” = Türklopfer

“bell-pull” = Klingelzug

“notice” = Zettel



“He’s Moping about it.” = Jetzt bläst er Trübsal.
(“Now blows he sorrow.”)

“very kindly” = überaus freundlicherweise

“Bear of Very Little Brain” = Bär von sehr wenig Verstand

“long words Bother me” = lange Wörter jagen mir Angst ein

“sneezed” = geniest

“a small something” = ein kleines Sowieso

“a lick of honey” = einer Idee Honig (“an idea of honey”)

“frisked” = tobte

“waving his tail so happily” = wedelte so glücklich mit dem Schwanz

And finishing up with the song at the end:

Who found the Tail?
‘I,’ said Pooh,
‘At a quarter to two
(Only it was quarter to eleven really),
I found the Tail!'”

= Wer fand den Schwanz?
»Ich«, sprach Pu,
»Um Viertel vor ganz
(Das heißt, es war um Viertel vor elf),

Ich fand den Schwanz!«

Bis bald!

Sonderling Sunday – Pu der Bär – Hunting the Wuschel

It’s time for Sonderling Sunday! That time of the week when I play with language by looking at the German translation of Children’s Books, sort of a Silly Phrasebook for Travelers.


This week, I’m going back to one of my favorite books, Winnie-the-Pooh, by A. A. Milne, otherwise known as Pu der Bär.

Last time we looked at Pu, we finished Chapter 2, about Pooh getting stuck in a very tight place. So this time we will cover Chapter 3, “In Which Pooh and Piglet Go Hunting and Nearly Catch a Woozle” = In welchem Pu und Ferkel auf die Jagd gehen und beinahe ein Wuschel fangen.

Oh! This is my opportunity to see what the translator did with the elaborate joke about Piglet’s Uncle “Trespassers William.”


It’s a pretty straight translation, just using a different name.

For research, I used Google Translate to see what “Trespassers will be prosecuted.” would be in German. Google came up with Strafrechtlich verfolgt wird. Maybe “v” is for verfolgt?

“it was short for Trespassers Will”
= es sei die Abkürzung von Betreten Vic

“which was short of Trespassers William”
= welches die Abkürzung von Betreten Victor sei.

“And his grandfather had had two names in case he lost one”
= Und sein Großvater habe zwei Namen gehabt, für den Fall, dass er mal einen verlöre

“Trespassers after an uncle, and William after Trespassers.”
= Betreten nach einem Onkel und Victor nach Betreten.

“carelessly” = leichtsinnig

A good phrase to know:
“Well, there you are, that proves it.”
= Siehst du, das beweist es ja.

“Pooh was walking round and round in a circle”
= Pu ging immer im Kreis herum

“tracking” = spüre

This is straightforward, but I like it:
“That’s just what I ask myself. I ask myself, What?”
= Genau das frage ich mich auch. Ich frage mich: Was?

“What do you think you’ll answer?”
Und was, glaubst du, wirst du dir antworten?

“paw-marks” = Pfotenabdrücke

“He gave a little squeak of excitement.”
= Es quiekte leicht vor Aufregung.

This is classic Pooh. Not quite the same in German:
“‘It may be,’ said Pooh. ‘Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. You never can tell with paw-marks.'”
= »Könnte sein«, sagte Pu. »Manchmal ist es das und manchmal ist es das nicht. Bei Pfotenabdrücken kann man nie wissen.«

“was bending over the tracks in a puzzled sort of way”
= beugte sich verblüfft über die Spuren
(“bent himself perplexedly over the tracks”)

“Hostile Animals” = feindselige Tiere
(The translator did not retain the Meaningful Use of Capital Letters.)

“a small spinney of larch trees”
= ein kleines Dickicht aus Lärchenbäumen
(Ah! Now I can find out what a “spinney” is! Dickicht = “thicket.”)

“what his grandfather Trespassers W had done to Remove Stiffness after Tracking”
= was sein Großvater Betreten V gegen Steifheit in den Gliedern nach der Spurensuche unternommen hatte

“Shortness of Breath”
= Kurzatmigkeit

Again, classic Pooh:
“It is either Two Woozles and one, as it might be, Wizzle, or Two, as it might be, Wizzles and one, if so it is, Woozle.”
= Es sind entweder zwei Wuschel und ein, falls es das ist, Wischel oder zwei, falls sie das sind, Wischel und ein, falls es das ist, Wuschel.

“Hostile Intent” = feindselig Absichten

“muddled” = vermengten

“The tracks of four sets of paws”
= die Spuren von vier Pfotenpaaren

“it brought very little comfort”
= dies wenig Trost brachte

Just in case you need to say this:
“I have just remembered something that I forgot to do yesterday and shan’t be able to do tomorrow.”
= Mir ist etwas eingefallen, was ich gestern zu tun vergessen habe und was ich morgen nicht tun kann.

“dear old Pooh” = liebster, bester Pu

“Silly old Bear” = Dummer alter Bär

“I see now.” = Jetzt verstehe ich.

“I have been Foolish and Deluded.”
= Ich war ein verblendeter Narr.
(“I was a deluded fool.”)

This doesn’t have the same ring to it:
“I am a Bear of No Brain at All.”
= Ich bin ein Bär ohne jeden Verstand.
(“I am a bear without any understanding.”)

“You’re the Best Bear in All the World.”
= Du bist der beste Bär der ganzen Welt.

“And then he brightened up suddenly.”
= Und dann erhellte sich plötzlich seine Miene.

Perhaps the most useful phrase of all:
“Anyhow, it is nearly Luncheon Time.”
= Auf jeden Fall, ist es schon fast Zeit zum Mittagessen.

Auf jeden Fall, ist es schon fast Mitternacht. Gute Nacht! Till next time!

Conference Corner – KidLitCon 2012

KidLitCon in New York City! At the New York Public Library! KidLitCon is a conference for bloggers who blog about children’s books. I went to KidLitCon09 close to home in DC, to KidLitCon11 in Seattle, and just had to go when it was so close by and free to boot.

I’m way behind on my Conference Corner posts. So, for fear I’ll never get to KidLitCon, I decided to post the same night I got back, when everything’s fresh. Instead of giving you all my notes, I’m just going to give you the high points. Here are the things I took home from KidLitCon12, in chronological order.

1. Publisher Previews are Dangerous.

I only was able to go to one preview, since I flew in to New York at noon, and that was probably a good thing. It was at the offices of HarperCollins going over books they’re publishing soon.

Why are previews dangerous? First, I had packed lightly. They gave us a full bag of advance reader copies, as well as three hardbound published books and a blank book. Did I tell them, no, I couldn’t possibly carry the bag home on the plane or fit it in my suitcase? No, I did not. Did I even tell them my neurologist said, since my vertebral artery dissection, that it’s not a good idea for me to walk around carrying more than 15 pounds? No, I did not.

Now, don’t worry, as I walked 20 blocks up 5th Avenue to our dinner (which I actually enjoyed. Definitely gave me the feel of New York City.), I found a FedEx and stuck the bag on their counter, and had them ship the whole bag home to me. But the other reason the preview was dangerous is after hearing them talk about the upcoming books, I want to read every single book! Was I hurting for ideas of books to read? No, I was not. Did I need to know about more books I’d like to read? No, I did not. Does that make me want to read them any less? No, it does not.

Now, later in the conference, I did end up with two more hardbound and two more paperback books. My suitcase ended up being hard to close, but I managed it. But to show how dangerous I find publisher previews, and how impossible I find it to resist free books — this morning I woke up from a dream where I was in a line to get advance reader copies of some adult books I didn’t even find very interesting, and which I knew I wouldn’t be able to fit in my suitcase, and when I knew it was Sunday and I wouldn’t be able to ship them — but I took them anyway! I was so relieved when I woke up! I had not taken more books than I could carry after all.

Yeah, I have a problem.

2. KidLit Bloggers are My People.

Okay, I knew this already. But it was a lovely to spend a weekend with other people who are a little nuts about children’s books. My resolution: Read more of their blogs! More regularly! These are my people, and it was wonderful to see the ones I already knew and meet some I hadn’t met before.

And I got to be roommates again with Lisa Song, who blogs at Reads for Keeps. She helped me navigate the subways, and having some quieter time with her between busy days was definitely a highlight of the conference.

3. Grace Lin shines with niceness and has a Really Cute Baby.

4. Sushi tastes good.

Who would have thought?

5. You should be creating something you want to share with the world, not something to show how clever or talented you are.

This was from Grace Lin’s talk. Just an inspiring reminder why I blog: To share special books with other people.

6. Although they are My People, not all Children’s Book Lovers are introverts like me. The extroverted ones are really fun to be around, though.

Here’s Pam Coughlan, Mother Reader, “auctioning” off ARCs from the Publisher Previews the day before. (I managed not to take any, I’m proud to say.) That’s Charlotte, middle grade science fiction and fantasy specialist, on the right. (Who is in the middle?)

7. Make your blog easy to share.

Resolution: Add more sharing buttons, besides the Tweet button. Must get around to this….

8. “If you talk like you’re alone in a room, you will be.” — Marsha Lerner

This point brought a small epiphany for me. Since I began Sonderbooks as an e-mail newsletter consisting of book reviews, I think of it as my thoughts I’m sharing with people. I’m talking like I did when I was the instructor lecturing the classroom.

9. Ask questions you want answers to.

All these last three points are from Marsha’s talk. And, mulling them over, I had an idea this morning. I think I am going to start using comments to discuss the books I review with other people who have read them. So I will put Spoilers in the comments. So far, I don’t get a lot of comments on book reviews. I mean, what do you say if you haven’t read the book? You can say, I’m looking forward to reading that. But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to talk about that annoying or brilliant thing at the end of the book and find out what other people think? I could use the comments for deeper discussion.

What do you think? I am honestly curious. Do you think spoilers in the comments is a good idea, if I put lots of warnings? My main blog doesn’t show comments, and on my website, you’d have to click over to the blog to see them, and I’d make sure to put warnings. Do you think it will work?

10. Winnie-the-Pooh!!!!! The Original!!!!

Okay, this was NOT something I took home with me, but this WAS a big huge enormous thrill. I got to see the original animals that Christopher Robin played with! Don’t they look so much like the Ernest Shepard illustrations? Especially Tigger:

And you can clearly see why Piglet is truly a Very Small Animal:

Eeyore actually looks patched, which easily explains the story of him losing his tail. All the animals, including dear Pooh, were clearly much loved.

But wait. You may be asking, like me, “What is that OTHER stuffed animal doing in the case?” That, dear reader, is a Travesty. You see, not only was a sequel to Winnie-the-Pooh and The House of Pooh Corner “authorized,” a new character was created. A stuffed animal of this new character was created, and someone had the Very Bad Idea of putting the new stuffed animal in the case with the original toys with whom Christopher Robin once played. Here is a picture Leaving It Out:

I took these pictures on my lunch break, and was so glad I’d made the pilgrimage. Wow.

11. Keep my inner fangirl in check. Maybe?

There was quite a lot of talk about the relationship between writers and bloggers. Do we get too nice because we don’t want to hurt the authors’ feelings? Is our professionalism hurt when we “know” the writer online or have met them in person?

I began writing Sonderbooks when I was working in a library, but was not yet a librarian. Now I’m a librarian, and I’ve been to the William Morris Seminar, and I closely follow the Heavy Medal blog — and I would so love to be on the Newbery committee some day. If I don’t want my reviews to be merely cheerleading, I should practice thinking critically. Yes, I feel I can continue with my policy of only reviewing books I like, but why do I like them? And, come on, it’s more professional if I try not to Squee too hard when I meet an author. Maybe less pictures with them? (And you’ll notice at least I posted Grace only with her baby.) Hmm. I’ll have to work on this one.

12. If you’re doing a PowerPoint presentation, make sure you are not scheduled after Brian Selznick.

This point is courtesy of Maureen Johnson; it seems very wise.

13. Always feel free to bring a friend.

Maureen roped her friend Robin Wasserman into sharing the keynote, and that added lots of fun to the talk.

14. Keep in mind every day why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Another one from Maureen Johnson.

15. Central Park is lovely.

Who knew?

I had a late afternoon flight, so I went into Central Park, and when I walked a little way in, I heard and saw an actual waterfall. So lovely.

I liked the juxtaposition of the trees with the skyscrapers.

Then later I came upon a large lake. Walking through Central Park was simply a lovely way to spend a couple hours after an inspiring weekend.

How about you, other KidLit Bloggers? What did you take away from KidLitCon?

Sonderling Sunday – Pu der Bär

It’s Sonderling Sunday again! Where I look up Handy Phrases and their translations in German, using the pages of children’s books. I’ve decided to mix it up a little, going back to Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge every other time, but looking at other books in between. Tonight I frittered away most of the day (okay, I finished a book), so I don’t have much time, and I am going to dip into the first chapter of Pu der Bär, fondly known as Winnie-the-Pooh

What a surprise! Most German editions are longer than the English edition, but my American paperback has 163 pages, and the German only 157. You can see they used larger pages, so perhaps that is the secret. The book does include the Ernest Shepard illustrations, colored.

I’m going to skip the Introduction, though it has some fun bits, because I want to dip into the main text. Chapter I is titled, “In Which We Are Introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees, and the Stories Begin” In German, this becomes: ERSTES KAPITEL In welchem wir Winnie-dem-Pu und einigen Bienen vorgestellt werden und die Geschichten beginnen.

Ah! Let’s start with the classic first sentence:
“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin.”

Hier kommt nun Eduard Bär die Treppe herunter rumpeldipumpel, auf dem Hinterkopf, hinter Christopher Robin.

Did you catch that word? rumpeldipumpel!

Later we have “bumping” = Gerumpel

“a growly voice” = eine Brummstimme

“an open place in the middle of the forest” = eine freie Stelle inmitten des Waldes

“from the top of the tree, there came a loud buzzing-noise” = vom Wipfel des Baumes kam ein lautes Summgeräusch

This is a good sentence to know:
“The only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you’re a bee.” =
Der einzige Grund dafür, ein Summgeräusch zu machen, den ich kenne, ist, dass man eine Biene ist.

“He began to climb the tree.” = Begann er den Baum hinaufzuklettern.

Now, I have to give the translation of the entire song Pooh sang to himself. It’s longer in German, but the translator did an admirable job.

Isn’t it funny
How a bear likes honey
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
I wonder why he does?

This becomes:

Ich frage mich seit Jahr und Tag,
Warum ein Bär den Honig mag.
Summ! Summ! Summ!
Ich frage mich: warum?

(Literally translated: “I ask myself each year and day,
Why a bear the honey likes.
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
I ask myself: Why?”)

In the second song, the translator changed the rhyme scheme from AABB to ABAB:

It’s a very funny thought that, if Bears were Bees,
They’d build their nests at the bottom of trees.
And that being so (if the Bees were Bears),
We shouldn’t have to climb up all these stairs.

He adds a little internal rhyme, but it doesn’t quite duplicate the feel of the original:

Schon seltsam, dass, wenn Bären Bienen wären,
Dann wäre ihnen auch ein Nest ganz unten eigen,
Und wenn es dann so wäre (die Bienen wären Bären),
Dann brauchten wir auch nicht so hoch zu steigen.

More goodies:

“a Complaining Song” = ein Beklage-Lied

Alas! We totally miss the fun of A. A. Milne’s use of Capital Letters, because ALL the German nouns are capitalized. Oh well!

“Oh, help!” = Ach, Hilfe!

“bounced” = aufprallte

“head-over-heels” = kopfüber (They leave out the “heels”!)

“said good-bye” = verabschiedete

“gorse-bush” = Stechginsterbusch

“brushed the prickles from his nose” = wischte sich die Stacheln von der Nase

“Which is most likely?” = Was ist am wahrscheinlichsten?

Ah, and a favorite line that, alas!, is not the same in German:
“You never can tell with bees.” = Bei bienen kann man nie wissen.

“just in case” = für alle Fälle

This is good in German:
“a very muddy place” = einer sehr schlammigen Stelle

“rolled and rolled” = wältzte und wältzte

“suspicious” = argwöhnisch

This classic line I also don’t like to see changed:
“Tut-tut, it looks like rain.” = Tz, tz, es sieht nach Regen aus.

“laughed to yourself” = in dich hineingelacht

“Silly old bear!” = Dummer alter Bär!

Another Handy Phrase:
“Shall I put my umbrella up?” = Soll ich meinen Regenschirm aufspannen?

“a little Cloud Song” = ein kleines Wolkenlied

And I have to include the Cloud Song:

How sweet to be a Cloud
Floating in the Blue!
Every little cloud
Always sings aloud.

“How sweet to be a Cloud
Floating in the Blue!”
It makes him very proud
To be a little cloud.

Auf Deutsch:

Als Wolke so im Blauen schweben,
Das ist und bleibt das wahre Leben!
Wenn ringsherum der Himmel blaut,
Singt jede schwarze Wolke laut:

»Als Wolke so im Blauen schweben,
Das ist und bleibt das wahre Leben!«
Sie fühlt sich, wenn es blaut,
Sehr wohl in ihrer Haut.

Let’s see, back to literal English, I make that something like:
“As clouds in the blue float
It is and stays the true life!
When around the sky blue,
sings each black cloud loud:

“‘As clouds in the blue float
It is and stays the true life!’
He feels, when the sky is blue,
Very well in his own skin.”

This is just a good sentence to know:
The bees were still buzzing as suspiciously as ever.” = Die Bienen summten immer noch so argwöhnnisch wie eh und je.

“very important decision” = sehr wichtigen Entschluss

“aimed” = gezielt

“miss” = verfehlt

“That day when Pooh and Piglet tried to catch the Heffalump” = Der Tag, an dem Pu und Ferkel versuchten das Heffalump zu fangen

And, since I’ve gone this far, I must include the last sentence of the chapter:

He nodded and went out, and in a moment I heard Winnie-the-Pooh — bump, bump, bump — going up the stairs behind him.

Er nickte und ging hinaus, und einen Augenblick später hörte ich, wie Winnie-der-Pu — rumpeldipumpel — hinter ihm die Treppe hinaufging.

And now I must go to bed myself — rumpeldipumpel. Next week’s KidLitCon, so I hope to be back with Sonderling Sunday in two weeks!