January 18 marks the birthday of A.A. Milne, author of the classic children’s book Winnie-the-Pooh.
His first collection of Pooh stories was published in 1926 and was simply called Winnie-the-Pooh (the hyphens were dropped from Pooh’s name once Disney obtained the rights). The book was highly praised by critics, which inspired Milne to write two sequels, Now We Are Six in 1927 and The House on Pooh Corner in 1928.
Most of the characters in the stories are based on real-life entities. Christopher Robin in based on Milne’s son of the same name. Winnie the Pooh is based on Christopher’s teddy bear and was named after two animals the young boy met. Winnie was a Canadian black bear that the boy would often visit at the London Zoo, and Pooh was the name given to a swan that Christopher would feed as a child. Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga and Roo were all based on stuffed animals in his nursery. Owl and Rabbit, the only live animals in the original book, were not inspired by any toys, owls and rabbits just happened to be two common animals found near Milne’s property in Sussex, England.
After Milne’s death in 1956, his wife Daphne licensed the motion picture rights to Disney. The first animated featurette was Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree in 1966, which was followed by over a dozen feature-length and direct-to-video films, including The Tigger Movie, Piglet’s Big Movie, and the masterpiece that is Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin.
Pooh’s legacy has become so impressive that he inspired The Tao of Pooh, a 1982 book that introduces Taoism to the western world using the familiar bear, was translated into over 50 languages including Latin, and was given a minor national holiday to celebrate his creation. The actual Pooh bear owned by Christopher Robin Milne can be seen at the New York Public Library, along with Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet and Kanga.
In honor of National Winnie the Pooh Day, why not stop by your local bookstore to catch up on Pooh’s latest adventure in Winnie-the-Pooh: The Best Bear in All the World? To find this book (or something more mature, if you prefer) check out Dan’s Best of the Best Book Stores in the Hamptons and on the North Fork.
41 Main Street, East Hampton
20 Main Street, Sag Harbor
Books & Books
A Tale of Two Sisters (formerly Montauk Bookshop)
37 The Plaza, Montauk
Antiques & Old Lace
31935 Main Road, Cutchogue
43 Front Street, Greenport
Black Cat Books
54 North Ferry Road, Shelter Island