On October 14 and beyond, take a moment to remember Winnie-the-Pooh (or Pooh Bear). Many of us remember growing up with the books written by A.A. Milne and illustrated by E.H. Shepard. The journey of Winnie-the-Pooh’s adventures (with his animal friends Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga and her son Roo and with the human boy, Christopher Robin) began in a big way on October 14, 1926 with the publication of Winnie-the-Pooh. Readers got a sneak peak at the human-like teddy bear in another Milne-Shepard collaboration with a poem “Teddy Bear” and an accompanying illustration of the then-named “Mr. Edward Bear” in the children’s verse book When We Were Very Young, published in 1924. It was followed in 1927 by another book of children’s verses, Now We Are Six, in which 11 of the 35 poems by A.A. Milne are accompanied by illustrations of Winnie-the-Pooh by E.H. Shepard. The next year saw a return to storytelling with the publication of The House at Pooh Corner in which the character Tigger is introduced.
In addition to the books, Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends have entertained children and adults alike over the years, as the characters came alive in animated films and television programs produced by the Walt Disney Company. Other versions of the character have also emerged such as Vinny-Pukh (Винни-Пух) in Russian.
Canadians have a connection to Winnie-the-Pooh as the character was inspired by a real black bear named Winnipeg (or “Winnie”), who was adopted by Canadian soldier and veterinarian Harry Colebourn during World War One in White River, Ontario.
The estate trustees of A.A. Milne authorized writer David Benedictus and illustrator Mark Burgess to publish a vetted sequel of short stories entitled Return to the Hundred Acre Wood in 2009, in which a new character named Lottie the Otter is introduced.
As we celebrate Winnie-the-Pooh, consider the following titles for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections: