Did you know that today is National Winnie the Pooh day? Well, today is the birthday of it's creator, A.A.Milne, who was born on the 18th January 1882, so it's a day to celebrate all things Winnie the Pooh!
Milne created the teddy bear that stole the world's heart in 1926, when the first collection of stories, Winnie-the-Pooh was published. Of course, Pooh was based on a bear that Milne's own son Christopher Robin had when he was young, and it wasn't long before Milne's books became a favourite of children across the world.
In fact, Winnie the Pooh is one of the most succesful children's stories of all time, and when Disney Productions licensed the rights to produce Winnie the Pooh films and merchandise in 1961, the little bear's popularity was stratospheric!
And who can forget the way that illustrator E.H Shepard brought the little bear and his friends to life. Shepard was also behind the drawings for The Wind in the Willows series of books.
Did you know......
- Winnie the Pooh was inspired by a real-life teddy bear that was bought from Harrods for Christopher Milne's first birthday. He was called Winnie after a real bear that the boy had seen in London Zoo. He now resides in a library in New York.
- Pooh's friends - Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Tigger and Owl were also toys of Christopher's.
- The character of Kanga is the only female in the Winnie the Pooh books
- A.A.Milne's full name is Alan Alexander Milne
- Hundred Acre Wood was based on the real woodland of Ashdown Forest in Sussex, which was close to the Milne's holiday home. This house was later bought by Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones. In 1969, he drowned in the swimming pool there.
- Pooh was first "re-drawn" by American illustrator Stephen Slesinger, who gave Pooh his bright red t-shirt. Slesinger bought US and Canadian rights to Pooh from Milne, and by 1931, was generating about $50million a year!
- Pooh is said to be second only to Mickey Mouse in terms of a character generating income from merchandise.
- Pooh has his own star in Hollywood.
- It is said that A.A.Milne, Christopher Robin Milne and E.H Shepard all grew to resent the impact that Pooh had on their lives.
“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem.”
A.A.Milne, Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh toys on display in New York
By Spictacular on Wikimedia Commons