Winnie the Pooh Day – On 18th January 1882, the creator of Winnie the Pooh was born. AA Milne has created many children’s characters and is the author of many books. Now, every year we celebrate Pooh Bear on the day of the author’s birth.
Winnie-the-Pooh, also called Pooh Bear, is a fictional anthropomorphic bear created by A. A. Milne. The first collection of stories about the character was the book Winnie-the-Pooh (1926), and this was followed by The House at Pooh Corner (1928). Milne also included a poem about the bear in the children’s verse book When We Were Very Young (1924) and many more in Now We Are Six (1927).
All four volumes were illustrated by E. H. Shepard.(Hyphens in the character’s name were dropped by Disney when the company adapted the Pooh stories into a series of features that became one of its most successful franchises.)
The Pooh stories have been translated into many languages, including Alexander Lenard’s Latin translation, Winnie ille Pu, which was first published in 1958, and, in 1960, became the only Latin book ever to have been featured on The New York Times Best Seller list.
In popular film adaptations, Pooh Bear has been voiced by actors Sterling Holloway, Hal Smith and Jim Cummings in English and Yevgeny Leonov in Russian.
His most famous creation springs to life on the page along with Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger and don’t forget Christopher Robbin!
Milne named the character Winnie-the-Pooh after a teddy bear owned by his son, Christopher Robin Milne, who was the basis for the character Christopher Robin. Christopher’s toys also lent their names to most of the other characters, except for Owl, Rabbit, and Gopher. Gopher was added to the Disney version. Christopher Robin’s toy bear is now on display at the Main Branch of the New York Public Library in New York City.
Harry Colebourn and Winnie, 1914
Christopher Milne had named his toy bear after Winnie, a Canadian black bear which he often saw at London Zoo, and “Pooh”, a swan they had met while on holiday.
The bear cub was purchased from a hunter for $20 by Canadian Lieutenant Harry Colebourn in White River, Ontario, Canada, while en route to England during the First World War. He named the bear “Winnie” after his adopted hometown in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “Winnie” was surreptitiously brought to England with her owner, and gained unofficial recognition as The Fort Garry Horse regimental mascot.
Colebourn left Winnie at the London Zoo while he and his unit were in France; after the war she was officially donated to the zoo, as she had become a much loved attraction there. Pooh the swan appears as a character in its own right in When We Were Very Young.
Several of the verses were set to music by Harold Fraser-Simson. The book begins with an introduction entitled “Just Before We Begin”, which, in part, tells readers to imagine for themselves who the narrator is, and that it might be Christopher Robin.
The 38th poem in the book, “Teddy Bear”, that originally appeared in Punch magazine in February 1924, was the first appearance of the famous character Winnie-the-Pooh, first named “Mr. Edward Bear” by Christopher Robin Milne. In one of the illustrations of “Teddy Bear”, Winnie-the-Pooh is shown wearing a shirt which was later coloured red when reproduced on a recording produced by Stephen Slesinger. This has become his standard appearance in the Disney adaptations.
In the first chapter of Winnie-the-Pooh, Milne offers this explanation of why Winnie-the-Pooh is often called simply “Pooh”: But his arms were so stiff … they stayed up straight in the air for more than a week, and whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off. And I think – but I am not sure – that that is why he is always called Pooh.
With his caring nature the oh-so-loveable old bear appeals to all ages. Who could resist a bear that utters the words “If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.” It just makes me melt inside!
Winnie-the-Pooh’s debut in the 24 December 1925 London Evening News
There are three claimants, depending on the precise question posed. Christopher Robin’s teddy bear, Edward, made his character début in a poem called “Teddy Bear” in Milne’s book of children’s verse When We Were Very Young (6 November 1924) although his true first appearance was in the 13 February 1924 edition of Punch magazine, which contained the same poem along with other stories by Milne and Shepard. Winnie-the-Pooh first appeared by name on 24 December 1925, in a Christmas story commissioned and published by the London newspaper The Evening News. It was illustrated by J. H. Dowd.
The first collection of Pooh stories appeared in the book Winnie-the-Pooh. The Evening News Christmas story reappeared as the first chapter of the book. At the beginning, it explained that Pooh was in fact Christopher Robin’s Edward Bear, who had been renamed by the boy. He was renamed after a black bear at London Zoo called Winnie who got her name from the fact that she had come from Winnipeg, Canada. The book was published in October 1926 by the publisher of Milne’s earlier children’s work, Methuen, in England, and E. P. Dutton in the United States.
In the Milne books, Pooh is naive and slow-witted, but he is also friendly, thoughtful, and steadfast. Although he and his friends agree that he “has no Brain,” Pooh is occasionally acknowledged to have a clever idea, usually driven by common sense. These include riding in Christopher Robin’s umbrella to rescue Piglet from a flood, discovering “the North Pole” by picking it up to help fish Roo out of the river, inventing the game of Poohsticks, and getting Eeyore out of the river by dropping a large rock on one side of him to wash him towards the bank.
Pooh is also a talented poet, and the stories are frequently punctuated by his poems and “hums.” Although he is humble about his slow-wittedness, he is comfortable with his creative gifts. When Owl’s house blows down in a storm, trapping Pooh and Piglet and Owl inside, Pooh encourages Piglet (the only one small enough to do so) to escape and rescue them all by promising that “a respectful Pooh song” will be written about Piglet’s feat. Later, Pooh muses about the creative process as he composes the song.
Pooh is very fond of food, especially “hunny” but also condensed milk and other items. When he visits friends, his desire to be offered a snack is in conflict with the impoliteness of asking too directly. Though intending to give Eeyore a pot of honey for his birthday, Pooh can not resist eating the honey on his way to deliver the present, and so instead gives Eeyore “a useful pot to put things in”.
When he and Piglet are lost in the forest during Rabbit’s attempt to “unbounce” Tigger, Pooh finds his way home by following the “call” of the honeypots from his house. Pooh makes it a habit to have “a little something” around eleven o’clock in the morning. As the clock in his house “stopped at five minutes to eleven some weeks ago,” any time can be Pooh’s snack time.
Pooh is very social.
After Christopher Robin, his closest friend is Piglet, and he most often chooses to spend his time with one or both of them. But he also habitually visits the other animals, often looking for a snack or an audience for his poetry as much as for companionship. His kind-heartedness means he goes out of his way to be friendly to Eeyore, visiting him and bringing him a birthday present and building him a house, despite receiving mostly disdain from Eeyore in return.
Red Shirt Pooh
Parker Brothers also introduced A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh Game in 1933, again with Pooh in his red shirt.
In the 1940s, Agnes Brush created the first plush dolls with Pooh in his red shirt.
Shepard had drawn Pooh with a shirt as early as the first Winnie-The-Pooh book, which was subsequently coloured red in later coloured editions.
So on 18 January make sure you celebrate Winnie the Pooh Day with Pooh and Friends.
Perhaps you can create some Winnie the Pooh artwork?
Or dress the kids up in Winnie the Pooh costumes, create your own Hundred Acre Wood and have a teddy bear’s picnic?
With a whole choice of things to do you can really get involved. I’m going to watch all the Disney films and cuddle up to my very own cuddly Pooh toy! Or why not dust off your Winnie the Pooh books and make a visit to the House at Pooh Corner – you could also take a walk through your own local “Hundred Acre Wood” to find “The Enchanted Place” or why not have a game of poohsticks, just like the characters in the book!
Whatever you do, celebrating on January 18th is the perfect way to get in the classic Winnie mood!
Winnie the Pooh Day – Celebrated on JAN 18
Filed Under: CELEBRATION - HOLIDAYS, FEATURED EVENTS, MEN "Positive Action", POETRY, Uncategorized, WORLD EVENTS Tagged With: A Celebration of Women, AA Milne, acelebrationofowmen.org, CANADA, Canadian Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, Celebrated on JAN 18, Christopher Robin, E. H. Shepard, Edward, Eeyore, Hal Smith, Jim Cummings in English, London Evening News, Ontario, Piglet, Pooh, Sterling Holloway, teddy bears, The New York Times Best Seller list, Tigger, White River, Winnie the Pooh Day, Winnie the Pooh Day - Celebrated on JAN 18, Yevgeny Leonov in Russian