Winnie the pooh facts

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Did you know today is Winnie the Pooh Day in honor of his creator, A.A. Milne’s birthday? If Mr. Milne were still alive today, he’d be turning 130 and he would no doubt be honored to see that his creation is still bringing joy to children to this day. In honor of Milne and his beloved Pooh Bear, here are a few things you might not know about Winnie and the rest of his pals.

Image Via CorneelW

His name has changed over the years, but not much. When the first A.A. Milne books came out, he was originally called Winnie-the-Pooh, but when Disney acquired the rights to animate the characters, they dropped the hyphen and the hyphenless title became much more popular.

The Pooh stories have broken many book records –even in foreign languages. It has been published in dozens of languages and the 1958 Latin translation even became the first non-English book to be featured on the New York Times Best Seller List and it remains the only Latin book to ever be seen on the list.

Winnie the Pooh may seem like a silly name for a bear, but it was the name of Christopher Robin Milne’s real teddy bear, so it became the name of the bear in the books as well. As it turns out, Christopher Robin named his bear after Winnie, a Canadian black bear that lived at the London Zoo (pictured above in his youth), and a swan named “Pooh” that the family met on vacation. Before the toy was given its famous name, it was originally sold at Harrods with the name “Edward Bear.” As for Pooh the swan, he was actually featured as a character in the same poetry book where Milne first introduced Winnie The Pooh to the world, although he still wasn’t named in one of Milne’s works until a 1925 Christmas story he wrote for The Evening News.

Contrary to many rumors, Winnie’s last name is not Sanders. This story was spread because Pooh’s house says “Sanders” over the door, but it is generally accepted that the name was put above the door by the home’s previous resident and that Pooh just never bothered to take it down.

Most of the other characters were named after Christopher Robin’s toys as well. That is, except for Owl, Rabbit and Gopher. Owl and Rabbit were created by Milne and illustrator Ernest Shepard solely to add a little more variety to the character list. Gopher wasn’t added until 1977, when the Disney company added the character to their animated feature, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

You can see all of the real plushies that inspired the characters at the New York Public Library. With one exception –Christopher Robin lost his Roo plush in the thirties, so it is sadly missing from the collection.

You can also visit most of the locations from the stories. The Hundred Acre Wood, Roo’s Sandpit, Poohsticks Bridget and the rest are all fictionalized names of real places in the Ashdown Forrest in Sussex, England where Milne bought a country home in 1925. For example, the Hundred Acre Wood is really the Five Hundred Acre Wood and Galleon’s Leap is really Gill’s Lap.

Christopher Robin was less than thrilled about the success of his father’s stories. Apparently his grudge started when kids in school picked on him by citing passages from the stories. As he grew older, he accused his father of achieving success by “climbing on my infant shoulders, that he had filched from me my good name and left me nothing but empty fame.” I don’t know about you guys, but if my dad wrote awesome books about me and my toys, I’d be touched, especially as I got older and realized that if the kids making fun of me used verses from the stories –that they must have been fans of the stories themselves.

While Disney maintained Pooh’s classic red shirt look, first introduced in 1932, critics complain that the company has changed the personality and stories too drastically. Strangely, if you prefer your Pooh Bear to be closer to the original, you’ll have to sacrifice the character’s look as his most accurate animation portrayal has been performed by his Russian version. While Russian Winnei’s stories closely follow those depicted in the original trilogy of Pooh stories, he certainly looks drastically different from the illustrations created by artist Ernest Shepard. That’s him in the cartoon above, if you couldn’t tell.

As for Disney, they’re doing just fine with their own take on the bear and his friends. It turns out the company makes just as much money from Pooh movies and merchandise as they do from the same creations bearing Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto.

Image Via parodyerror

Of course, Disney hasn’t manipulated the stories nearly as much as a few others have. The character has been used by Benjamin Hoff to explain the tenants of Taoism, by Frederick Crews to satirize philosophical approaches used by academics and by John T. Williams to illustrate the works of popular philosophers including Descartes, Pluto and Nietzsche. Apparently the little stuffed bear might just be one of the best philosophers of our time. As if that weren’t enough, Kenny Loggins even wrote a song based on the cuddly character.

He has also left his mark on the real world as well. There are streets in Warsaw and Budapest named after him. And the imaginary sport of Poohsticks, where contestants drop their stick in a stream to see whose will cross the finish line first, is now played worldwide and even has a World Championship match in Oxfordshire.

Are you a Pooh fan? Is there anything I left out here? Also, who is your favorite character in the Hundred Acre Wood? Personally, I love Eeyore, but that’s partially because he reminds me of my lazy, mopey dog.

Sources: Wikipedia #1, #2, Mental Floss

90 weird and wonderful facts about Winnie-the-Pooh

A.A. Milne, the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh was born on Jan. 18, 1882. To mark this milestone, Jan. 18 is Winnie-the-Pooh day.

To celebrate, here are 90 weird and wonderful facts about the Hundred Acre Wood.

2. Though A.A. Milne was British, Winnie-the-Pooh was not. The real bear who inspired him, Winnie, was a Canadian female black bear.¹

3. As author Lindsay Mattick describes in her children’s book Finding Winnie, the real Winnie was adopted as a cub by a Canadian veterinarian named Harry Colebourn in 1914. (Mattick is Colebourn’s great-granddaughter.)¹

4. Colebourn, originally from Winnipeg, found the bear cub on a train platform in White River, Ont.¹ War trains would routinely stop in White River for four to six hours for maintenance and supplies, and to let the horses off for food and water.

Harry Colebourn teaching Winnie tricks. (Courtesy of Lindsay Mattick, author of Finding Winnie)

6. After Winnie and Colebourn were stationed at the Canadian Forces Base Valcartier in Quebec for a bit, Winnie travelled overseas with the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade and was a mascot for the men.¹

7. When the time came to ship out to France, Colebourn drove Winnie to the London Zoo. His intention was to loan Winnie to the zoo during the war. Her stay there started on Dec. 9, 1914.¹

8. However, when Colebourn visited Winnie at the zoo at the war’s end, he saw how happy the bear was and decided to make the loan a permanent one.¹

9. Colebourn returned to Winnipeg, where he worked as a veterinarian.¹

Christopher Robin Milne, circa 1925. (Sasha/Getty Images)

11. Christopher received a teddy bear on his first birthday from his father, Alan Alexander Milne. It was an 18-inch bear from Harrod’s department store in London, and it could growl.

12. The bear was originally called Edward, but Milne and his son eventually renamed the stuffed teddy Winnie after the adorable black bear at the London Zoo.

13. The “Pooh” part of Winnie-the-Pooh comes from a swan that Milne and his son encountered on vacation. They called the swan Pooh, which Milne described in When We Were Very Young.

14. The real Winnie had a sweet tooth — preferring condensed milk to raw meat.

Archival photo of Christopher Robin Milne feeding Winnie the bear at the London Zoo. (Zoological Society of London)

16. Before writing Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne was a moderately successful humourist, playwright and mystery author.

17. Winnie-the-Pooh’s first appearance was as an unnamed character in A.A. Milne’s 1924 collection When We Were Very Young: “A bear, however hard he tries/Grows tubby without exercise.”

18. As well as Pooh, Christopher Robin had a stuffed donkey, which would inspire Eeyore; a stuffed pig, which would inspire Piglet; a stuffed Kangaroo, which would inspire Roo; and a stuffed tiger, which would inspire Tigger.

19. Christopher Robin invented voices and personalities for his stuffed animals, which inspired his father.

The toys were recently patched up, cleaned and vacuumed. (Pete Riesett and Steven Crossot/Canadian Press)

21. The toys recently underwent a major repair job, getting patched up, cleaned and vacuumed. Eeyore needed the most work.

22. The real Winnie died in 1934, living to be 20 years of age — that’s two years older than the average American black bear would live to be in the wild.

23. The Royal College of Surgeons’ Hunterian Museum in London, England put her skull on display.

24. Museum director Sam Alberti said Winnie’s skull shows she lived with severe gum disease, likely because of the honey on sticky buns she was fed by adoring visitors.

Pictured above is a rare first edition copy of the second Winnie-the-Pooh book. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

26. Winnie-the-Pooh has been translated in over 50 languages, including Catalan, Thai, Esperanto and Latin.

27. In 2014, a meeting was held in the tiny town of Tuszyn, Poland, to decide upon a new patron for a local children’s playground. Pooh was suggested, but then denounced due to his questionable attire (no pants). “It is half naked, which is wholly inappropriate for children,” said Councillor Ryszard Cichy.

28. In a new collection of stories to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Winnie-the-Pooh in 2016, Pooh makes a new friend: Penguin.

29. The story’s writer, Brian Sibley, said: “The thought of Pooh encountering a penguin seemed no more outlandish than his meeting a kangaroo and a tiger in a Sussex wood, so I started thinking about what might have happened if, on a rather snowy day, Penguin had found his way to Pooh Corner.”

Photo of Christopher Robin and his father, A.A. Milne, playing with a stuffed penguin and the teddy bear that would be named Winnie-the-Pooh. (Getty Images/Illustration by Mark Burgess)

31. Milne said he liked to introduce new characters in order to keep stories fresh for people reading them aloud.

32. The Hundred Acre Wood characters Owl and Rabbit were the only two that weren’t inspired by Christopher Robin’s toys. Instead their characters came from real animals on Cotchford Farm, the Milnes’ property in Sussex.

33. The Cotchford Farm estate was later bought by Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones. He died in the swimming pool there in 1969.

34. Milne’s first attempt at children’s literature was a poem called Vespers. He did not intend to write any more in this genre after that but, bored on a rainy holiday, he ended up writing the collection When We Were Very Young.

35. Goodbye, Christopher Robin, a film depicting the life of A. A. Milne, came out in 2017. It starred Domhnall Gleeson as A.A. Milne and Margot Robbie as Milne’s wife, Daphne de Sélincourt.

36. Over 50 million copies of the Winnie-the-Pooh books have been sold worldwide.

37. Winnie-the-Pooh was voiced in Disney featurettes until 1977 by the actor Sterling Holloway. Holloway also voiced the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland and Sleepy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

38. A.A. Milne served in both the First and Second World War, despite being a pacifist.

39. The name “Winnie-the-Pooh” by Milne, published in the London Evening News on Christmas Eve, 1925.

(Illustrated by Mark Burgess/Disney)

41. Pooh Bear met the Queen (and her great-grandson Prince George) outside Buckingham Palace, and presented her with a special hum song for her birthday.

42. Milne wrote a successful stage adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, called Toad of Toad Hall, in 1929. Prior to this, reviews of Grahame’s book had been mixed; Milne’s adaptation is credited with making the book a classic.

43. In the 1930s and 1940s, Milne went back to writing for adults, as he had before Winnie-the-Pooh. This included an anti-war book, Peace with Honour.

44. The sign above Pooh’s door says “Sanders,” which led to rumours that Winnie’s last name was Sanders. It’s not. Milne explained in a tongue-in-cheek way that Sanders is just the name on the sign that Pooh lived under. Which makes us wonder, who was this previous tenant named Sanders?

45. The Hundred Acre Wood was inspired by Ashdown Forest in Sussex, England.

46. Ashdown Forest was a deer-hunting forest in Norman times. There are no records of any bears living there, but there are foxes, stoats, weasels and badgers.

47. Speaking of British animals, Gopher was never in the original Winnie-the-Pooh books. He was added when Disney took over the brand, as a more relatable American creature.

48. The Milne family — along with illustrator Ernest H. Shepard — often visited the forest in the summer.

49. Editors at Punch magazine introduced Milne to his longtime collaborator, Ernest H. Shepard. Milne didn’t really want his poems illustrated until he saw Shepard’s work.

50. Milne loved Shepard’s illustrations in the first Winnie-the-Pooh. In Shepard’s copy he wrote this poem:

Photo of Ernest H. Shepard’s copy of Winnie-the-Pooh (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

51. The American satirist Dorothy Parker was not a fan of Pooh Bear. She wrote this about the use of the word “hummy” to describe one of Pooh’s songs: “It is that word ‘hummy,’ my darlings, that marks the first place in The House at Pooh Corner at which Tonstant Weader Fwowed up.”

52. The A.A. Milne Pooh canon consists of When We Were Very Young, Winnie-the-Pooh, Now We Are Six and The House at Pooh Corner. There have been many new stories written by other authors since then.

53. Christopher Robin’s stuffed animals took a U.S. tour in the 1940s. The collection was insured for $50,000 and included Pooh’s birth certificate, signed by Milne to ensure its authenticity.

54. Winnie-the-Pooh inspired the bestseller The Tao of Pooh, which praises the honey-loving bear for being an “uncarved block,” well in tune with his inner self.

Christopher Robin Milne with his then-fiancée Lesley de Selincourt. (J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)

56. You can send birthday cards to Winnie-the-Pooh courtesy of the New York Public Library, where Christopher Robin’s original stuffed bear lives.

57. Kept in their bulletproof display case at the New York Public Library, Christopher Robin’s original plush Pooh toys see about 750,000 visitors per year. They are extremely fragile and their environment is consistently monitored for temperature, relative humidity and light levels.

58. The only original toy you can’t see at the New York Public Library is Roo. Christopher Robin Milne lost it sometime in the 1930s in an apple orchard.

59. Ernest H. Shepard’s his favourite book to have illustrated wasn’t Pooh, but Kenneth Greene’s The Wind in the Willows.

60. There is a Russian cartoon version of Winnie-the-Pooh, called Vinni Pukh, and he is adorable.

61. Christopher Robin wasn’t the biggest fan of his father’s stories. Children at school used to tease him about Winnie-the-Pooh, and as Christopher got older, he felt that his father had earned his fame by standing on his son’s shoulders.

62. In fact, both A.A. Milne and the books’ illustrator, Ernest H. Shepard, came to resent Winnie-the-Pooh as well, feeling the bear overshadowed their other work.

63. A group of researchers in the pediatrics department at Dalhousie University published a report entitled Pathology in the Hundred Acre Wood in the Canadian Medical Association Journal’s winter 2000 lampoon issue. The satirical article assigns each Milne character at least one psychological disorder.

64. The article posits that Pooh has ADHD, OCD and microcephaly (due to his Very Little Brain); Piglet has generalized anxiety disorder; Eeyore suffers, evidently, from depression; and Tigger has a “recurrent pattern of risk-taking behaviours.”

65. Kenny Loggins — that’s right, the Footloose guy — wrote this rather touching ballad about Winnie-the-Pooh:

66. There is a street in Warsaw, Ulica Kubusia Puchatka, named after Winnie-the-Pooh. It has a stone tablet of Winnie walking hand-in-hand with Piglet.

67. There’s also a street named after him in Budapest (Micimackó Utca).

68. A repatriation battle broke out over Christopher Robin’s original Pooh toys in 1998, when British Labour MP Gwyneth Dunwoody started a campaign to bring them back from the New York Public Library, saying, “Just like the Greeks want their Elgin Marbles back, so we want our Winnie-the-Pooh back, along with all his splendid friends.” New York’s mayor at the time, Rudy Giuliani, vowed to “do anything” to keep them. They’re still in New York.

69. Remember how Pooh and the gang have a game they play called “Poohsticks”? Well, here’s how you play it.

(Courtesy of the World Poohsticks Championships, which is run by the Rotary Club of Oxford Spires)

71. White River, Ont. — where the original Winnie was first found as a cub by Harry Colebourn — holds an annual Winnie-the-Pooh festival in August. The 2016 edition included a historical re-enactment of the original purchase of Winnie, as well as a parade, a fish derby, a spaghetti supper and bingo.

72. Ryerson University in Toronto worked with Colebourn’s great-granddaughter, Lindsay Mattick, to curate a special exhibition devoted to the real story of Winnie. Here’s a video about the project.

73. Winnie-the-Pooh was briefly banned from some U.K. public schools in 2003, in fear that Muslim children would be offended by a talking pig. This edict was overturned by the Muslim Council of Britain, who voted to end the “well intentioned but misguided policy.”

74. Forbes magazine has ranked Winnie-the-Pooh as the second most valuable children’s character in the world, after Mickey Mouse.

The statue was unveiled on August 6, 1992. (Ken Gigliotti/Canadian Press)

76. Fred Colebourn, Harry’s son, fought to have Winnie and his father’s story properly recognized. Here he is being interviewed by CBC in 1987.

77. The Guinness World Record for the largest “Pooh and Friends memorabilia collection” is held by Deb Hoffmann, from Wisconsin. Hoffmann received her first Winnie-the-Pooh when she was two years old, and as of the record-setting date in 2015, she had amassed 13,213 Pooh items.

78. In Grade 6, Hoffmann wrote a story based on that same stuffed Winnie she was given at age two. Hoffmann had sneaked out of bed to go to the bathroom and saw her father come home with the toy. The title of Hoffmann’s story was Pooh on the Toilet.

79. Disney animator and Orthodox Jew Saul Blinkoff has hidden various Jewish “Easter eggs” in his Winnie-the-Pooh films, including a mezuzah (a tiny Hebrew scroll in a case) on Winnie’s door.

80. A 2004 TV movie called A Bear Named Winnie tells the story of Harry Colebourn (played by Michael Fassbender) and Winnie (played by three different bears: Chester, Charlie and Bonkers). It aired on CBC Television in December of that year.

82. Eeyore’s downcast manner apparently came from the fact that the real Christopher Robin’s toy lost the stiffness in its neck stuffing as time went on, and his head started hanging down.

83. Kanga was a “he” in Milne’s original notes, but was changed to become the only female character in the books.

84. A.A. Milne’s father ran a private boarding school, which A.A. attended. One of his teachers was a young H.G. Wells, who went on to become an iconic science fiction author.

85. From the 1960s to 1980s, Sears had an exclusive North American licence to sell Pooh merchandise. This included a line of “Pooh-rated” clothing. And yes, that’s Gary Coleman in this 1977 ad:

86. Thanks to a questionable Disney show from the 1980s, Pooh and the gang warn of stranger danger.

87. The Latin translation of Winnie-the-Pooh, Winnie ille Pu, is the only book in Latin ever to make it onto the New York Times bestseller list.

88. Thanks to an epic merchandising empire, Winnie-the-Pooh is estimated to be worth £3.75 billion annually ($6.3 billion CAD). In comparison, the Queen is estimated to be worth about £350 million annually ($588 million CAD).

89. Cambridge University’s Pembroke College Winnie-the-Pooh Society was established in 1993. The Queen is apparently a member. They regularly meet at 4 p.m. every Saturday of the full term to drink tea, eat cake and read from the works of A.A. Milne. The annual membership fee is £2 ($3.35 CAD).

An original E.H. Shepard drawing for a Winnie-the-Pooh book. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

¹From Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick ©2015, published by HarperCollins, as well as files from Mattick’s personal collection.

The bear which inspired Winnie the Pooh is actually a girl

Winnie the Pooh is a boy.

He is referred to as “he” in AA Milne’s books and in the Disney cartoons his voice has always been provided by a man.

But, it turns out that the real-life bear he is named after, was actually a female black bear named Winnie.

Christopher Robin, son of AA Milne and star of the books and cartoons, had called his teddy Winnie, having seen the actual bear a number of times in London Zoo.

Author Lindsay Mattick has told the story of the Canadian bear in her new book Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear. The film rights have already been sold.

Her great-grandfather, Harry Colebourn, rescued Winnie in 1914 and named her for his hometown of Winnipeg, Canada.

Colebourn was a vet and and travelled to England to help care for horses during the First World War.

He brought Winnie with him and she became a favourite with the troops.

Image caption AA Milne including a character based on his son Christopher Robin in his books

When Colebourn was shipped over to France, he sent Winnie to stay at London Zoo. He always planned to bring her back to Canada, but when he saw how much children loved visiting her at the zoo, he donated her permanently.

“I’m still blown away that, while a lot of people in Canada certainly know the story and know the history now, around the world it’s really still not known,” Ms Mattick told Winnipeg Free Press.

“People don’t even realize that there was a real bear.

“I want people who love Winnie the Pooh to understand that the real story behind her is just as beautiful and just as amazing.”

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Disney controls Winnie the Pooh trademarks, court rules

Walt Disney Co. has won an appeals court ruling that protects the Burbank entertainment giant’s trademarks to the valuable Winnie the Pooh characters.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington upheld a decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that blocked Stephen Slesinger Inc.’s challenges to Disney’s control of the trademark for the Hundred Acre Wood clan.

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The ruling appears to end a 21-year legal odyssey against Disney by Stephen Slesinger’s family. Slesinger was a New York literary agent and pioneer in the marketing of cartoon characters. He was the first to see great value in promoting the befuddled bear, depressed donkey and other characters created in the 1920s by British author A.A. Milne.

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Milne transferred the Pooh merchandising rights to Slesinger in 1930, and Slesinger’s widow assigned them to Disney in 1961.

Over the next four decades, Disney created a multibillion-dollar merchandising empire around Winnie the Pooh, whose popularity eclipsed that of Mickey Mouse, Disney’s longtime mascot. Pooh became Disney’s most profitable character.

In 1983, in an attempt to settle certain contract disagreements, Slesinger’s widow and daughter renegotiated the family’s agreement with Disney. But soon, the Slesingers came to believe the entertainment company was grossly underpaying them royalties for Pooh products, including for sales of then-thriving videocassette tapes.

The Slesingers sued Disney in 1991 in state court, alleging breach of contract, but the family ultimately lost that case.

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The federal action, over copyright claims, followed more than a decade later.

A federal judge ruled in 2009 that the family had transferred all its Pooh rights to Disney. Because of that ruling, the appeals court said Friday that the trademark office was correct to reject the Slesingers’ challenge to Disney’s ownership.

Disney declined to comment.

“An appeal may be appropriate,” said Patricia Slesinger, daugher of Stephen Slesinger.

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In the main branch of the New York Public Library, there lives a group of wild animals that call the children’s section home. Together, in one cage, are a young pig, a donkey, a tiger, a kangaroo, and a bear known the world over as Winnie-the-Pooh. The bear is not the red-shirted “tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff” found in cribs around the world, more a regular ole’ fuzzy variety, a simple knock-around bear. But he’s still Pooh, a bit matted down, a bit overly loved, but in great shape considering he’ll soon be 100 years old. The original Pooh is amazingly still alive, well into the 21st-century, in both literary and animated forms.

The NYPL’s Winnie-the-Pooh was the real-life inspiration for the original A.A. Milne stories, which continue to co-exist alongside the better-known Disney juggernaut. The characters from 1928’s smash bestseller The House on Pooh Corner live side-by-side with the cartoon iterations in a way very few originals and their Disney-fied versions do. Consider poor Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” which most kids only know via the $400-million box office adaptation, Frozen, or, for that matter, Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.” What’s amazing about Pooh’s modern cartoon-y familiarity is that as big as the Magic Kingdom is, the original not only survives, but thrives as a continued source of fascination.

“If you write a very good book, and someone makes a very good film about it, the book just disappears. Nobody really reads Mary Poppins or Pinocchio because the films are so accomplished they’ve supplanted the source,” says Frank Cottrell-Boyce, co-screenwriter of Goodbye Christopher Robin, the new movie about the story-behind-the-Milne-stories.

The sweet, oft-befuddled bear actually evolved out of Milne’s decidedly unquiet time on the Western Front during World War I. He was injured at the First Battle of Somme in 1916, and his time in the trenches left Milne with “shellshock” (what we now call PTSD). Following the war, he uprooted his family, moving from London to the quieter country retreat of Crotchford Farm. Milne and his only child, Christopher Robin, who went by the nickname “Billy Moon,” spent countless hours exploring the woodlands of the Ashdown Forest, often accompanied by his son’s stuffed animal collection. Prior to World War I, Milne was a successful essayist, humorist, and editor at Punch, and following the war, he was a successful playwright, with works like Mr. Pim Passes By (adapted as a silent picture in 1921.) It was the time spent with Billy Moon, and his wild imagination, though, that made Milne world-famous.

Fatherhood inspired Milne’s first foray into children’s literature through poetry. Published in Vanity Fair in 1923, “Vespers” includes the line “Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.” He followed that up in Punch with the poem “Teddy Bear,” which mentions a “Mr. Edward Bear,” soon re-named by Christopher Robin after a visit to the London Zoo, where a black bear rescued from Winnipeg—“Winnie,” of course—made its home. And in Milne’s popular 1924 poetry book When We Were Very Young, the author tells of his son explaining how he would feed a swan in the morning, but if the bird wouldn’t come, the boy would say “‘Pooh!’ to show how little you wanted him.’”

Thus on Christmas Eve, 1925, in the London Evening News, A.A. Milne’s short story “The Wrong Sort of Bees” gave readers the holiday gift of Winnie-the-Pooh, the newly renamed bear who is dragged down the stairs by Christopher Robin, bumping his head all the way. Christopher Robin asks his father to make up a tale about Pooh and the yarn he spins established the Pooh the world knows and loves today. The hungry hero comes up with a plan to steal honey from some tree-dwelling bees. He rolls around in mud to disguise himself as a raincloud, then floats up to the hive with a blue balloon, making up songs to pass the time. Pooh failed to acquire honey, but the silly slow-witted but oh-so-lovable character succeeded in becoming a sensation.

All of Milne’s children’s works, starting with “Vespers” were accompanied by Ernest H. Shepard’s elegant monochromatic pencil illustrations. The prose and drawings of the Hundred Acre Wood animals, and their young human friend, were a perfect match, capturing the wide-eyed innocence and thrills of childhood, but with an underlying bit of melancholy and sadness. The working relationship between combat veterans Milne and Shepard deepened over time, and they truly developed the Winnie-the-Pooh world together. A primary example is that while the stories were based on Billy Moon’s real-life experiences, the famous early black-and-white drawings were closer to the friendlier-looking plushie owned by Shepard’s son, a bear named Growler.

The story collection Winnie-the-Pooh was published in October 1926, introducing the characters to a bigger global audience. It was a huge hit at home and abroad. The original English version sold a whopping-for-the-time 32,000 copies, while in the United States, 150,000 copies were nestled on nightstands by year’s end. The Harry Potter-level success of the Pooh books would be both a blessing both and a curse for Billy Moon. Still a young boy, he was dwarfed by his fictional “Christopher Robin” counterpart.

“Christopher Robin is actually on record that he quite liked being famous as a child, the damage and resentment came later,” says Ann Thwaite, whose 1990 biography of A.A. Milne won the prestigious Whitbread Award and serves as a primary source for the film. She has a new adaption, Goodbye, Christopher Robin, out now. “But Milne was always extremely interested in his son, even though the boy was mainly looked after by his nanny Olive Rand, whom Christopher was devoted to.”

The books provided Billy Moon everything a boy could ever want, but also deprived him of the simpler anonymous childhood he’d known. He missed the ample time he and his father had spent exploring the woods, which of course, led to the Pooh books in the first place. The boy was thrust into the spotlight, making public appearances, doing readings and audio recordings, and being photographed again and again for all the fans wanting a piece of the real Christopher Robin. Milne seemed to grasp his role in exploiting his son, later writing that he felt “amazement and disgust” at his son’s fame.

The Pooh series ended after a mere four books with The House at Pooh Corner, but Billy Moon’s fame would come back to haunt the family. In boarding school, the merciless bullying he received drove him to prove his manhood by volunteering to fight following the outbreak of WWII. Billy Moon failed a medical examination, but coerced his famous father into using his influence to secure a military position. In 1942, he was commissioned, serving with the Royal Engineers in Iraq, Tunisia, and Italy. Billy Moon contacted malaria and took shrapnel to his head, a gut punch to his father, who became a devoted pacifist following his military career.

Milne’s son returned safely from World War II and eventually made peace with his childhood celebrity and fictional doppelgänger. He didn’t have much of a choice, though—it wasn’t as if the characters were fading away. The sales of Pooh books have been phenomenal for 90 years. They’ve never in 50 languages. A 1958 Latin translation by Alexander Lenard, Winnie ill Pu, is the only book in Latin to ever become a New York Times bestseller.

The original books, however, will always have a special place in British literary lore. Published following the brutality of World War I, they provided a much-needed solace in a time of great sadness, a connection to the innate wonder of childhood, and a specifically British sensibility.

The original toys from A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories, held in the New York Public Library children’s section (Manor Photography / Alamy Stock Photo)

“English World War I posters featured the rural woodlands, domain of Robin Hood, because that’s what we were fighting for. The woods are part of the software of the English psyche, and Milne captures it better than anyone,” says Cottrell-Boyce. “Although, I’ve also heard Russians think it’s about them because Pooh is a big sleeping bear, what it says to me is the amazing stories and beautiful sentences are universal.”

Over the last near-century, those four slim Winnie-the-Pooh volumes sprouted a massive honey pot of cash. But the billions of dollars in annual receipts brought in by Pooh merchandise, ranking him with royalty like princesses, superheroes, and Mickey Mouse, isn’t something Disney can take all the credit for.

In 1930, a producer named Stephen Slesinger took Pooh off the page and into the burgeoning arena of pop culture mass marketing. The American and Canadian licenses to Pooh were secured from Milne by Slesinger for $1,000 and later, 66 percent of broadcast royalties.

Slesinger was a pioneer in licensing and merchandizing characters, bringing color to the Hundred Acre Wood—most notably in 1932, on an RCA Victor record, where Pooh’s typically uncovered belly now featured a red shirt—and taking the characters beyond dolls, to jigsaw puzzles, radio shows, a “Colorful Game” from Parker Brothers, and later, this nightmare-inducing puppet version on the Shirley Temple Show. Slesinger was a bridge between the English page and the American marketplace, helping further cement the whole Hundred Acre Wood gang—Piglet, Eyeore, Kanga, Owl, Tigger, and so on—as kiddie icons available to bring into homes in all kinds of formats.

Slesinger died in 1953, and his wife continued developing the characters until deciding to license the rights to Walt Disney Productions in 1961. Walt himself coveted Pooh thanks to his daughters, who loved Milne’s stories. (Long after Disney passed away, there were Slesinger Inc. royalty lawsuits based on unforeseen future technologies like the VCR.) The Disney studios released its first animated Pooh short in 1966, and there have been a steady stream of movies, TV shows, video games, and amusement park rides ever since. In 2006, Pooh Bear himself received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but the glitz and glamour of the character’s post-Milne age hasn’t lessened the love of the original works. The books have flourished right alongside their Disney counterparts, and still offer surprises to 21st-century readers.

“I grew up with the books, Milne’s words and Shepard’s illustrations are the fabric of British life, Disney’s Pooh is not definitive,” says Simon Vaughn, a Brit as well as the other co-writer on Goodbye Christopher Robin.

The heart of Goodbye Christopher Robin is about what it means for a parent to raise a child under extraordinary circumstances, but Cottrell-Bryce believes there is a simple basic human reason why Milne and Shepard’s masterworks remain essential in everyday parental life, even in the face of the Disney. In those early cartoons, Winnie-the-Pooh was memorably voiced by Sterling Holloway, but even his warm cuddly characterizations are no match for mom and dad.

“The Pooh books were written for the nursery, to be read intimately to a little child,” says Cottrell-Bryce. “The books offer a deep moment between child and parent at bedtime. It’s primal and comes from love.”

As Milne wrote back in 1926, Sing Ho! for the life of a Bear!

Harry Colebourn Credit: Library and Archives Canada)

With bells ringing and brakes squealing, a trainload of men in crisp military uniforms pulled into the small lumber town of White River, Ontario, on August 24, 1914. In need of fresh air and a stretch of his legs after a long day on the rails, Lieutenant Harry Colebourn descended the steps of his railcar onto the station platform when an unusual sight caught his eye—a black bear cub no more than seven months old at the end of a leash held by a trapper seeking to attract the attention of a willing buyer.

In the 27-year-old Canadian soldier, the trapper found the perfect customer. Born in Birmingham, England, Colebourn had always loved animals. At the age of 18, he emigrated to Canada to study veterinary surgery. After graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1911, Colebourn settled in the prairie boomtown of Winnipeg to take a job with the Department of Agriculture. Days after the launch of World War I, the young veterinary officer with the Fort Garry Horse cavalry regiment was among the first to enlist and depart Winnipeg for the military training camp at Valcartier, Quebec.

Winnie plays with a soldier’s sleeve. (Credit: Manitoba Archives)

During the brief stopover in White River, Colebourn scooped the little bear into his arms as the trapper explained that he had killed her mother but couldn’t do the same to the orphaned cub. The captured bear quickly captured the soldier’s heart. The cavalry veterinarian purchased the cuddly cub for $20 and returned to the train with his new pet, which he named “Winnipeg” in tribute to his hometown.

During the weeks Colebourn spent training with other members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force at Valcartier, the bear he nicknamed “Winnie” proved a trusty companion. Harry trained Winnie with rewards of apples and a mixture of condensed milk and corn syrup. The cub slept under his cot and followed him around like a puppy. When not climbing tent poles or playing with her owner, the gentle bear posed for photographs with soldiers and became the regiment’s mascot.

Harry Colebourn and Winnie. (Credit: Manitoba Provincial Archives)

In early October, Colebourn boarded the military transport S.S. Manitou with Winnie in tow as he sailed to England for additional instruction. After seven weeks of training on the Salisbury Plain, the veterinary officer received the call to the Western Front. The trenches of France were hardly a place for a man—let alone a bear—so on December 9, 1914, Colebourn brought Winnie to her new home at the London Zoo, which had just opened a new bear habitat that resembled a mountain landscape. Before parting, the soldier promised to bring Winnie back to Canada once the war was over, which he hoped would be a matter of months.

There would be no quick end to World War I, however, and Colebourn witnessed the horrible carnage firsthand. On one occasion, he narrowly avoided being hit by a shell that exploded just yards away. At a time when horses were still critical military assets, Colebourn and the other members of the Royal Canadian Army Veterinary Corps provided a vital service by protecting them from disease and helping them heal from bullet and shrapnel wounds.

A.A. Milne with his son, Christopher Robin. (Credit: by Apic/Getty Images)

Whenever he received a coveted leave from the front, Colebourn visited Winnie in her new home. Although she had grown from cub into bear, Winnie remained as gentle as ever. Zookeeper Ernest Sceales told a London newspaper in 1933 that Winnie was “quite the tamest and best behaved bear we have ever had at the zoo.” Children were even allowed to enter the bear pit to ride on Winnie’s back or feed her out of their hands.

Weeks after the guns finally fell silent in November 1918, Colebourn reunited with Winnie. In spite of his promise at the start of the war, however, the soldier could not take the black bear back to Canada. He knew that his pet no longer belonged to him, but to the people of London. After saying his final good-bye to Winnie, Colebourn returned to Winnipeg, where he continued to work for the Department of Agriculture and opened a small animal hospital in the rear of his house.

Christopher Robin Milne with his teddy bear. (Credit: Apic/Getty Images)

Among the children of London who continued to be smitten by Winnie in the coming years was a young boy named Christopher Robin Milne who repeatedly begged his father, author A.A. Milne, to take him to the zoo where he fed spoonfuls of condensed milk to the friendly black bear in between big, furry hugs. Christopher Robin grew so fond of the London Zoo’s star attraction that he changed his teddy bear’s name from “Edward” to “Winnie the Pooh,” an amalgamation of the black bear’s name and a moniker he had bestowed upon a swan he used to feed in the morning.

Winnie the Pooh and other stuffed animals in Christopher Robin’s nursery—including Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Tigger—served as inspiration for his father’s most enduring writings. A.A. Milne had been a prolific playwright, screenwriter, detective novelist and contributor to the humor magazine Punch when he first brought the character Winnie-the-Pooh to life in his 1924 book of children’s poetry, “When We Were Very Young.” That was followed by the publication of a full volume of stories, “Winnie-the-Pooh,” in 1926. A sequel, “The House at Pooh Corner,” was released two years later. Like Colebourn, Milne had served in World War I, and the idyllic setting of the 100-Acre Wood was a welcome sanctuary from the horrors of the Western Front that remained fresh in his mind and those of many readers in the 1920s.

First edition copies of “Winnie the Pooh.” (Credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The success of Milne’s books made Winnie more famous than ever. When she passed away in 1934 at the age of 20, her death made news around the world. Winnie was so notable that her skull was sent to the Royal College of Surgeons, where it was placed on display last year for the first time. Statues at both the London Zoo and Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo of Colebourn holding the hands of Winnie as she stands on her hind legs also offer reminders of the bond between a Canadian soldier and a black bear cub that led to the creation of a literary classic.

10 Fun Facts About Winnie The Pooh

To pay tribute to both English author A.A. Milne and his lovable bear, Winnie The Pooh, we’ve compiled a collection of incredible facts that even the most dedicated visitor to the Hundred Acre Wood might not know.

1. THE CHUBBY LITTLE CUBBY WAS BASED ON A REAL, YOUNG ONE.

Wikimedia Commons// Public Domain

During World War I, a Canadian soldier named Harry Colebourn made a pet of a black bear cub he bought from a hunter for $20. Named Winnipeg—or “Winnie” for short—the bear became his troop’s mascot and later a resident of the London Zoological Gardens. There, she was an adored attraction, especially to a little boy named Christopher Robin Milne, son of author A.A. Milne. In fact, the boy loved Winnie so much that he named his own teddy after her.

2. CHRISTOPHER ROBIN MILNE INSPIRED HIS FATHER’S GREATEST WORKS.

In the 1920s, A.A. Milne began writing collections of stories and poems that became the books When We Were Very Young (which introduced a bear named Edward and a swan named Pooh), The House at Pooh Corner, Now We Are Six, and Winnie-The-Pooh. It was these stories where Christopher Robin’s adored toy animals Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, and Roo made their literary debuts. Most of the original toys can be seen on display at the New York Public Library—except for Roo, who went missing in an apple orchard in the 1930s. The likes of Owl and Rabbit were included to loop in some of the fauna that frolicked outside the Milne family home.

3. ILLUSTRATOR E.H. SHEPARD AMBUSHED MILNE FOR A JOB OF DRAWING POOH.

English artist E.H. Shepard. Getty

Shepard and Milne shared a mutual colleague in English humorist E.V. Lucas, who believed the former would be perfect for the tricky task of bringing Milne’s fantasy world to life in delicate drawings. But Milne was reluctant to hire a political cartoonist, so Shepard took the initiative. As recounted by Milne’s old neighbor, Laurence Irving, Shepard wandered Ashdown Forest, the inspiration for Milne’s mythical woods, and created a portfolio of sketches. Then he turned up unannounced at Milne’s home, where he handed over his portfolio to Milne and won his approval.

4. A.A. MILNE WAS A SOLDIER AND A PLAYWRIGHT BEFORE POOH DOMINATED HIS LEGACY.

In World War I, he served in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment before being conscripted to Military Intelligence as a propagandist. His experiences inspired Peace With Honour, which denounced the war. He was an assistant editor at the magazine Punch, which is how he came to get involved with Shepard and Lucas. And between 1903 and 1925, Milne published 18 plays and three novels, all before publishing a word on Winnie the Pooh.

5. WINNIE’S LATIN TRANSLATION IS THE ONLY LATIN BOOK TO EVER CRACK THE NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER LIST.

Titled Winnie Ille Pu, the 1960 release translated by Dr. Alexander Lenard stayed on the coveted list for 20 weeks, and ultimately demanded 21 printings, selling 125,000 copies. This accomplishment spoke in part to the book itself, which the Times called ”the greatest book a dead language has ever known.” But it’s also evidence of Pooh’s popularity. The adventures of this honey-loving bear have been translated into more than 50 languages, including Afrikaans, Czech, Finnish, and Yiddish.

6. THE REAL CHRISTOPHER ROBIN RESENTED HIS FATHER, AND POOH.

Christopher Robin Milne, circa 1925. Getty

Being forever the tender little boy in Hundred Acre Wood didn’t suit Christopher Robin Milne. Like his father before him, he became a writer, but wrote memoirs of his own life, like The Enchanted Places, Beyond the World of Pooh, and The Hollow On The Hill. In these, he asserted, “It seemed to me almost that my father had got where he was by climbing on my infant shoulders, that he had filched from me my good name and left me nothing but empty fame.” Ouch.

7. A PRODUCER WHO PURCHASED THE POOH RIGHTS ADDED HIS SIGNATURE RED T-SHIRT.

For nearly 30 years before Walt Disney began animating the bear, the American producer Stephen Slesinger acquired Pooh’s merchandising rights for the U.S. and Canada. The red t-shirt that is now a Pooh signature was drawn in 1932 for an RCA Victor picture record. By the ’40s, plush dolls donning the red top were being produced. When his widow, Shirley Slesinger Lasswell, licensed Pooh merchandising to Disney in 1961, the animators decided to keep the look.

8. POOH HAS BECOME ONE OF DISNEY’S MOST POPULAR PROPERTIES.

A Winnie the Pooh poster, circa 1965. Tom Simpson via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In 1961, Walt Disney also purchased the motion picture rights from A.A. Milne’s widow, Daphne, and so began a brand that continues to thrive for his company. A series of Winnie the Pooh shorts were released in theaters starting in the late 1960s. In 1977, a trio of these made up Pooh’s first theatrical release The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The 1980s brought two television shows, Welcome to Pooh Corner and The New Adventures of Winnie The Pooh. Then the 2000s offered The Tigger Movie, Piglet’s Big Movie, Pooh’s Heffalump Movie and the CGI series My Friends Tigger & Pooh. There have also been a slew of straight-to-DVD releases. All this leads to merchandising profits that are said to rival Mickey Mouse’s.

9. POOH ISN’T JUST FOR KIDS—HE’S FOR ACADEMICS TOO!

Scholars and philosophers have been pulling from Pooh for inspiration. American author Benjamin Hoff wrote both The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet to explain principles of the Chinese philosophical school of Taoism. Scholar John Tyerman Williams responded with the long but self-explanatorily titled Pooh and the Philosophies: In Which It Is Shown That All of Western Philosophy Is Merely a Preamble to Winnie-The-Pooh and Pooh and the Psychologists. And English professor and author Frederick Crews penned The Pooh Perplex and Postmodern Pooh, which satirized academic trends in case studies.

10. 2011’s WINNIE THE POOH FEATURED THREE A.A. MILNE STORIES THAT HAD NEVER BEEN ADAPTED BEFORE.

Made in the style of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, this theatrical release utilized traditional hand drawn animation and was staged within the pages of a book. It also contained seven original songs written by Robert Lopez and his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez, the writing team that would go on to pen Frozen’s Oscar-winning song, “Let It Go.” The movie also featured a reprisal of the classic “Winnie The Pooh” theme sung by charming chanteuse Zooey Deschanel.

This article originally ran in 2015.

Winnie the Pooh: 10 things you didn’t know (and the quotes you already love)

Jennifer McClellan USA TODAY Published 6:53 AM EST Jan 18, 2019

Happy Winnie the Pooh Day!

Didn’t know that was today? Oh, bother.

Don’t despair. We silly old bears are in this together.

Winne the Pooh Day is celebrated on January 18 in honor of A. A. Milne, who first wrote about the honey-loving bear in 1926’s “Winnie-the-Pooh” book.

In honor of Pooh, his friends and all the joy they’ve brought to families around the world, we’ve put together a list of 10 bits of trivia you might not know, plus 10 quotes you already love.

10 things you didn’t know about Winnie the Pooh

1. Winnie the Pooh author A. A. Milne named the boy in his stories after his son, Christopher Robin Milne.

2. The original Pooh bear was purchased at Harrods department store in London and given by A. A. Milne to Christopher Robin on his first birthday. At first, the toy was named Edward (proper form of Teddy) Bear.

3. Later, Christopher Robin changed the name of the toy to Winnie, after a real-life bear he saw at the London Zoo.

4. Real-life Winnie was a female black bear that belonged to Harry Colebourn, who was from Winnipeg, Canada. He brought her to England, where he served during World War I. Winnie’s permanent residence became the London Zoo. That’s much different from the fictional Winnie the Pooh, who is golden, male and British.

5. The fictional Hundred Acre Wood was based on the real Five Hundred Acre Wood in Ashdown Forest in Southeast England. Milne lived on the edge of the forest and took his son there.

Illustration by Ernest H. Shepard from ‘The House at Pooh Corner’ E.P. Dutton & Co.

6. The original manuscripts for “Winnie the Pooh” and “The House at Pooh Corner” are held at The Wren Library at Trinity College at the University of Cambridge in England, A. A. Milne’s alma mater.

7. You can visit some of the real stuffed animals that inspired beloved Pooh characters. Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga and Tigger are on display at The New York Public Library in New York City.

8. Jim Cummings, an American voice actor, has been voicing Pooh since 1988, when the animated series “The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” began. He is the current voice of Tigger, too.

9. Pooh got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006, joining other Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Snow White and Donald Duck.

10. The most recent Pooh movie was the live-action “Christopher Robin,” released in August 2018. It starred Ewan McGregor and grossed more than $197 million in worldwide box office sales, according to Box Office Mojo.

“I’m getting very sleepy and that looks like a bed,” Pooh remarks after spotting a bench in “Christopher Robin.” He appreciates the simple things in life. LAURIE SPARHAM/DISNEY VIA AP

Best Winnie the Pooh quotes:

“I’m so rumbly in my tumbly.” – Winnie the Pooh

“We’ll be friends forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet. “Even longer,” Pooh answered.

“The things that make me different are the things that make me.” – Piglet

“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” – Christopher Robin

“A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” – Eeyore

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” – Winnie the Pooh

“She knew at once that however big Tigger seemed to be, he wanted as much kindness as Roo.” – A.A. Milne

“If you live to be a hundred, I hope I live to be a hundred minus one day, so that I never have to live a day without you.” – Winnie the Pooh

“Could be worse. Not sure how, but it could be.” – Eeyore

And, of course, the classic: “Oh, bother.”

Winnie-the-Pooh and friends original stuffed toy animals after restoration and return to New York Public Library. Pete Riesett and Steven Cross, NYPL via AP

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Published 6:53 AM EST Jan 18, 2019

10 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Winnie The Pooh

We’re celebrating the 90th anniversary of AA Milne’s classic children’s tale by delving into some long lost facts about Pooh bear and his best pal Christopher Robin…

In 1926, English author A.A. Milne was so inspired by his son’s teddy collection that he decided to write a charming story about a honey-loving bear and his woodland friends.

Jump forward 90 years and Winnie the Pooh continues to be one of the most beloved characters from children’s fiction, alongside his best pals Christopher Robin, Tigger, Piglet, Roo, Kanga and Eeyore.

Read more: Can You Match Each Item To It’s Disney Film?

To celebrate nine decades of Winnie the Pooh, we’ve rounded-up some amazing facts about the loveable bear to get you running to the library all over again. We’ll meet you in the Hundred Acre Wood…

1. The original Winnie the Pooh soft toy had a very swanky first home…

AA Milne’s son, Christopher Robin Milne, was gifted a teddy bear by his mother in the early 1920s and it is this exact bear that inspired Winnie the Pooh. Christopher Robin’s mother Dorothy de Sélincourt actually purchased the bear from super posh London department store Harrods, which is apparently where she snapped up the toys that inspired Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, and Roo.

2. Winnie the Pooh was inspired by a real-life bear…and a swan!

Christopher Robin named his teddy bear after Winnie – the real-life Canadian black bear that lived at London Zoo during the 1920s and 30s. The ‘Pooh’ part of the name actually emerged when the Milne family met a swan on holiday which was nicknamed ‘Pooh’. Who knew!

3. You can still see all of Christopher Robin’s soft toys that inspired Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Tigger

Head inside the New York Public Library and you’ll find the original teddy bears owned by Christopher Robin Milne in all their glory! Amazingly, the teddy bears have stood the test of time, EXCEPT for the original ‘Roo’, which sadly was lost in an apple orchard in the 1930s. If only someone would find it while walking the dog!


(Image: vagueonthehow, Flickr)

Read more: Can You Name These Forgotten Disney Characters?

Winnie the Pooh has been translated into dozens of languages, but it’s a special Latin version of the book that broke records. In 1958, Winnie Ille Pu translated by Dr. Alexander Lenard became the first non-English book to be featured (for 20 weeks!) on the New York Times Best Seller List and remains the only Latin book to EVER appear on the list. Nice work!

5. The Hundred Acre Wood is a REAL place!

Winnie the Pooh and his friends famously lived in the Hundred Acre Wood…but did you know it’s actually based on a very real place? Milne purchased a country home in Ashdown Forrest, Sussex, in 1925, and the nearby Five Hundred Acre Wood became the inspiration for his fictional world.


(Image: Matt Brown, Flickr)

Read more: These Disney Princesses Reimagined As New Mum’s Are On Point

Don’t underestimate the power of Pooh bear! Winnie the Pooh is such a hit in Poland that there’s a street completely dedicated to the loveable character. Kubusia Puchatka Street, which directly translates to Winnie the Pooh Street, was formally unveiled in Warsaw in the first half of the 1950s. We wouldn’t mind paying a visit!

7. Winnie the Pooh is just one of 15 fictional characters to have THIS special honour…

In April 2006, Winnie the Pooh became one of just 15 fictional characters to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! Other characters that have been given the prestigious honour include Mickey Mouse, Big Bird, Shrek and Kermit the Frog. Don’t forget to snap a picture next time you’re on the Hollywood Boulevard.

(Image: vagueonthehow, Flickr)

Read more: Disney Sneakily Drop Trailer For NEW Pirates Of The Caribbean Film

AA Milne created the lovely game of Poohsticks for Winnie the Pooh and his friends to play, but now it’s being enjoyed by people all over the world! The aim of the game is to drop a stick in a stream from one side of a bridge and then run over to the other side of the bridge to see whose stick is visible first…simple, but perfect for all the family! Amazingly, the Poohsticks World Championship match takes part in Oxfordshire every year.

9. Winnie the Pooh illustrations are worth a small fortune…

Part of the magic of Winnie the Pooh is how he was brought to life by E.H. Shepard – the illustrator who worked with AA Milne on the original stories. Well, if you happen to have an original Shepard illustration gathering dust in your attic it may be worth taking it to an auction house! An original illustration of Pooh, Christopher Robin and Piglet playing Poohsticks sold in December 2014 for $492,727. That’s £397,592!!

Read more: See The Faces Behind The Magic Of Beauty And The Beast

Disney first purchased the rights to Winnie the Pooh in the 1960’s, and since then they’ve been keeping the characters in the Hundred Acre Wood alive for future generations! It’s not been easy though…when making the film Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day in 1968, Disney artists used around 1.2 million pencils and made almost 100,000 drawings. How incredible is that!

Winnie-the-Pooh

Winnie-the-Pooh, collection of children’s stories by A.A. Milne, published in 1926. Milne wrote the episodic stories of Winnie-the-Pooh and its sequel, The House at Pooh Corner (1928), for his young son, Christopher Robin, whose toy animals were the basis for many of the characters and whose name was used for the young boy who appears in the tales as the benign master of the animals.

Winnie-the-Pooh; PigletWinnie-the-Pooh and Piglet, illustration by E.H. Shepard.Advertising Archive/Courtesy Everett Collection

The main character, Winnie-the-Pooh (sometimes called simply Pooh or Edward Bear), is a good-natured, yellow-furred, honey-loving bear who lives in the Forest surrounding the Hundred Acre Wood (modeled after Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, England). His companions are Eeyore, a gloomy gray donkey; Piglet, a timid pig; Owl, a pontificating bird; the meddlesome Rabbit; and Kanga, an energetic kangaroo whose inquisitive baby, Roo, lives in her pouch.

Pooh, a self-described “Bear of Very Little Brain,” gets himself into all kinds of sticky situations, and the book’s 10 chapters recount his various adventures. In the first chapter, Pooh hears bees in the treetop and believes they must be making honey. After unsuccessfully attempting to climb the tree, he uses a balloon to pretend he is a cloud, but the bees are suspicious. Deciding they are the wrong sort of bees, Pooh realizes he is unable to get down, and he enlists the help of Christopher Robin, who pops the balloon with a gun. In a later adventure, Pooh visits Rabbit and, after eating too much, gets stuck in Rabbit’s doorway. For the next week, Pooh fasts while Christopher Robin keeps him company. Finally he is slim enough for the others to pull him free. Pooh’s kindness is also evident, notably when he finds Eeyore’s missing tail in chapter four. Later in the book Pooh demonstrates his bravery when he and Christopher Robin set off in an upturned umbrella to rescue Piglet from a flood.

The stories are simply written, to appeal to young readers, and full of comic moments as well as silly verses. However, the work also is notable for its insights into human behaviour, and Milne’s characters are endearing but also complex. E.H. Shepard’s original illustrations add to the charm of the book and helped make it a children’s classic. In The House at Pooh Corner Milne introduced another popular character, an exuberant tiger named Tigger.

A.A. Milne, c. 1920.Hulton Archive/Getty Images Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today