10 Wonderful Facts About Winnie-the-Pooh
Silly, willy, nilly old bear.
Today we celebrate the birthday of Winnie-the-Pooh’s creator, A.A. Milne, the author of the beloved books about Christopher Robin—a real boy—and his favorite toy, a bear we call Winnie-the-Pooh.
Whether you have read the four books Milne published about the adventures of Christopher Robin, Pooh, and his famous (and cuddly) friends or not, you are at least familiar with Disney’s version. The illustration of Winnie-the-Pooh in his red shirt is as familiar as an icon of childhood. Many nurseries and children’s rooms are decorated with Pooh characters and quotes from the author.
Here are some facts you may NOT have known about America’s favorite bear (but now you do).
Did you know this about Winnie-the-Pooh?
- The original bear (named Edward, proper for Teddy) was given to Christopher Robin Milne on his first birthday. The bear is now in residence at the New York Public Library, along with the other toys featured in the books, except for Roo (Christopher Robin lost him in the 30s). Rabbit, Owl and Gopher were not based on actual toys, so they are not their, either.
- Milne named the character in his books Winnie-the-Pooh after a real Canadian black bear named Winnie which lived at the London Zoo and a swan named Pooh that was encountered on holiday. The swan, Pooh, was featured as a character in Milne’s poetry book When We Were Very Young.
- The places in the Winnie-the-Pooh books are real places. For instance, the Hundred Acre Wood is actually the Five Hundred Acre Wood in Ashdown Forrest in Sussex, England. The Milne family lived in a country home purchased near there in 1925.
- The sport of Pooh-sticks, where contestants drop sticks in a stream to see whose will cross the finish line first, is played worldwide. Oxfordshire, England, holds the World Championship Pooh-sticks match.
- Although author A. A. Milne studied at Cambridge to become a mathematician, after he received his degree in 1903, he pursued a career in writing. He is best known as a children’s writer, even though he wrote many other works.
- In his latter years, both Milne and his son Christopher Robin were unhappy. The son thought that his father “had filched from me my good name and had left me with nothing but the empty fame of being his son.” For years before Milne’s death in 1956, the father and son rarely saw each other.
- Milne once noted that “a writer wants something more than money for his work: he wants permanence.” His Winnie-the-Pooh books gave him that.
- Winnie-the-Pooh books have been translated into more than 50 languages, and the Latin version is the only Latin book ever to win a spot on the New York Times best seller list.
- The Oxford English Dictionary lists AA Milne as the creator of the words heffalump and Pooh-sticks.
- Worldwide, over 50 million copies of the Winnie-the-Pooh books have been sold.
“Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.”
“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?”
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”
“Just because an animal is large, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want kindness; however big Tigger seems to be, remember that he wants as much kindness as Roo.”
How long has it been since you read Winnie-the-Pooh?