Kanga (Winnie-the-Pooh)

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Kanga is the name of a recurring fictional character in A. A. Milne's series of books about Winnie-the-Pooh. A female kangaroo, Kanga is Roo's mother and a good friend to Winnie-the-Pooh and all the other residents of the Hundred Acre Wood. She lives with Roo in a house near the Sandy Pit in the northwestern part of the Forest. Tigger later comes to live with them.

Kanga and her son, Roo, come to the Forest "in the usual way" in Chapter VII of Winnie-the-Pooh. She also appears in Chapter VIII, is mentioned in Chapter IX, and appears again in Chapter X of that book. In The House at Pooh Corner, Kanga appears in chapters II, IV, VII, IX, and X, and is mentioned in a few others. She is the only female character to appear in the books.

Like most of the characters in Winnie-the Pooh, Kanga was based on a stuffed toy that belonged to Christopher Robin Milne. Ernest H. Shepard's illustrations show Kanga with dark brown fur on her back and lighter fur on her front. Like all female kangaroos, she has a pouch (usually called her "pocket" in the books). Unlike an actual animal, however, Kanga's pocket apparently closes with a button. (The text mentions her "buttoning" and "unbuttoning" her pocket on a few occasions, although no buttons are visible in the illustrations.) Her pocket is apparently large enough for Very Small Animals like Roo (and in one instance, Piglet) to ride in.

Kanga is a kind-hearted, motherly character. She takes great care of Roo, and is constantly concerned with his well-being, whether that means trying to keep him out of trouble or giving him his "strengthening medicine" (which is later revealed to be extract of malt) after meals. As Piglet describes her, Kanga "isn't Clever", but is so concerned about Roo that she will always be able to take care of him, automatically knowing "a Good Thing to Do" without thinking about it. She is not without a sense of humor, however, as shown when she not only catches onto the joke that the others are trying to play on her by hiding Roo but then turns the joke back on Piglet by pretending she believes he is Roo.

Kanga also comes the nearest of all the Pooh characters to serving the role of a parent to the other characters. She will offer motherly advice - and food - to anyone who asks her. In particular, she immediately "adopts" Tigger when he comes to the Forest, welcoming him into her home, attempting to find him food he likes, and eventually allowing him to live with her and Roo. In the chapters after Tigger moves in, Kanga treats him much the way she does her own son, with kind words, gentle discipline, and even his own version of "strengthening medicine".

Kanga likes to keep things clean, and when she feels especially motherly, she likes to count and organize things. She can sign her own name, as she does on the "rissolution" that the animals give to Christopher Robin, but there is no other indication of whether she can read or write.

Disney cartoon version

Kanga also appears in the Disney cartoon versions of the Winnie the Pooh stories, retaining her sense of motherly warmth and kindness towards not only Roo, but all the characters in the Hundred-Acre-Woods. Kanga was originally voiced by Barbara Luddy, Julie McWhirter, and by Patricia Parris from 1989-1991 and is currently being voiced by Kath Soucie, who also works for Nickelodeon and Classic Media (although in Kingdom Hearts 2 she is played by Tress MacNeille.). Her Japanese voice is done by Tomie Kataoka.

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