Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pop History Moment: The Publication of "Winnie-the-Pooh"

On this day in 1926 the English humourist and poet A. A. Milne published a book of stories for children concerning the antics of a honey-mad bear and his woodland friends; illustrated by E. H. Shepard (with whom Milne worked at the satirical publication Punch) the stories of Winnie-the-Pooh have been amusing and enlightening children and adults alike ever since...

Beginning with Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and continuing in The House at Pooh Corner (1928), there is also a poem about the character in When We Were Very Young (1924) and many more in Now We Are Six (1927). David Benedictus has recently published another collection of Pooh stories, Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, with illustrations by Mark Burgess in the style of E. H. Shepard. In the intervening years, of course, Pooh has hit the big screen courtesy of Disney and the vocal talents of Sterling Holloway.

Thrillingly (for me, at least) there is a Canadian connection to these charming characters... Winnie, a Canadian black bear rescued as a cub by Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, was a resident at the London Zoo and one of Winnie's frequent visitors was none other than Christopher Robin Milne. Among the minor changes the elder Milne made in adapting Winnie was a change in colour; also, the real Winnie was female!
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