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Poland switches sexes on Winnie-the-Pooh

WARSAW, Poland -- To the dismay of critics, a new Polish translation of A.A. Milne's classic children's book 'Winnie-the-Pooh' switches the sex of the lovable bear from male to female.

Astonished readers discovered the new edition of the book changes the name of Kubus Puchatek, Winnie-the-Pooh in Polish, to 'Fredzia Phi-Phi,' a female name.

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In addition, translator Monika Adamczyk 'used red-tape and news media jargon which ought not to be offered to young readers,' one reviewer noted.

The translation is 'awkward and deforming' and the 'worst possible choice' as a gift, said reviewer Jan Marx.

Asked about the new translation, a Warsaw university professor replied, 'If you want to correct the King James version (of the Bible) you must offer something equally beautiful, otherwise all the effort will be in vain.'

There was no immediate explanation for the changes. As is the case elsewhere in the world, 'Winnie-the-Pooh' is enormously popular in Poland, largely because of a translation by poetess Irena Tuwim.

Warsaw has a 'Winnie-the-Pooh Street,' and many of the bear's sayings have found their way into current Polish usage.

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