"tiddely pom" to make it more "hummy"


Senior Member
From Dorothy Parker's 1928 review of A. A. Milne's The House at Pooh Corner:

And it is that word “hummy,” my darlings, that marks the first place in “The House at Pooh Corner” at which Tonstant Weader Fwowed up.

"Tonstant Weader" is for "Constant Reader", which seems to be a term from Victorian times used when writing letters to the editor, and I assume that "Fwowed up" is for "Throwed up" with the capitalization to mock Milne's writing style. But I'm not seeing clearly what Parker is complaining about here. What is so bad about the word "hummy"? Or why is it wrong for Pooh to add "tiddely pom" to his song to make it more "hummy"?
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Dorothy Parker was noted for her caustic wit. That was her stock-in-trade. So it would have done her reputation no good to be nice about Milne’s writing in her review! (Coincidentally, I sat and watched the film Goodbye Christopher Robin just last night. :))


    Senior Member
    English - US
    She's saying that the book is so sickeningly sweet, that by the time she got to this bit of more "cutesy-wootsy baby-talk" she wanted to vomit.


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    She didn't just want to fwow up, she fwowed up. And as many times as I've read that passage over the years, it only just now struck me that she says this was the first place. She kept on going (being a professional) and she kept on fwowing up.
    Dorothy Parker's column of book reviews was called "Constant Reader." Parker's name did not appear on the column, and "Constant Reader" is how she referred to herself in the third person. She has spelled "Constant Reader" as "Tonstant Weader", and has turned "threw" into "fwowed" in order to make the language, when read aloud, sound like the way a small child would pronounce (or mispronounce) words. Parker is commenting that she finds the style of Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories excessively and needlessly "cute" and childish -- indeed, so excessively cute that she is disgusted by it.

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    To me, it reads like a rather affectionate review. All those quotes and hardly any comment. There is only one criticism (the one this thread is about) and that is couched in baby-language, which seems to lessen rather than heightens the impact in my opinion.

    "As they are trotting along against the flakes, Piglet begins to weaken a bit" (Parker's own words) doesn't quite echo Milne, I think, but it is very close.

    Of course, Parker couldn't say she liked the book, but I really cannot imagine her review putting anyone off buying it.


    New Member
    said Groucho Marx in Horse Feathers in 1932: If icky-baby doesn't stop tawking like dat, big strong man is going to kick all her teef wight down her throat