The Story Behind Winnie the Pooh

The book Winnie the Pooh was first released on 14 October 1926 by English author A.A. Milne. The facts that inspired the characters in this favorite storybook is quite complicated. In honor of the Author and his lovely bear, we have come up with ten wow facts about this beautiful book.

Winnie the Pooh Existed in Real Life

Winnie was an adorable bear that was made a pet by a Canadian Soldier, Harry Colebourn. The bear was thought to bring good luck to his troop anytime they went for battle. She was later taken to the London Zoological Garden where a little boy by the name Christopher Robin Milne so much adored her.

Christopher was the son of A. A. Milne. The little boy loved the bear that he named his teddy after her.Other characters of A. A. Milne’s book also had real-life counterparts. Christopher Robin was named after Milne’s son, Christopher Robin Milne, while Christopher’s teddy bear was “Winnie the Pooh.”

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Lieutenant Harry Colebourn and his cub named “Winnie“Source: variety.com

Long before A. A. Milne wrote the book Winnie the Pooh; he served as a soldier in the World War I. He became ill and was unable to fight at the battlefronts. Despite this, he was still able to help the military by joining a secret propaganda unit in 1916. After leaving the military, he went on to work as an assistant editor at the magazine Punch. Before he published Winnie the Pooh, Milne had already published 18 plays and three novels.

Only Latin Book to Crack the New York Times Best Seller List

Winnie the Pooh was translated to Latin and released by Dr. Alexander Lenard in 1960. The Latin version was on the New York Times Best Seller List for 20 weeks. More than 125, 000 copies were sold. The translated book showed how popular “Winnie the Pooh” was. This adventurous book has been translated into more than 50 different Languages, as well as Afrikaans, Czech, Finnish, and Yiddish.

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The English novelist Alan Alexander Milne (1882-1956) author of the story Winnie the Pooh, here with his son Christopher Robin Milner (1920-1996), photo by Howard Coster, 1926 – English novelist Alan Alexander Milne who wrote the story of Winnie the Pooh (1926) here with his son Christopher Robin Milner, picture by Howard Coster, 1926 – father and child father and child (Photo by Apic/Getty Images)

The first Winnie the Pooh book, a collection of Milne’s Pooh stories from the Evening News sold 150,000 copies in the United States when it was published in 1926. Over 35,000 copies were also sold in the UK. It became the most popular of Milne’s work comprising of poems, essays, screenplays, and novels.

Milne Wrote a Lot More than Winnie-the-Pooh

While studying mathematics at Cambridge, Milne focused on writing storybooks and novels. He got his degree in 1903 and decided to pursue a career in writing. He produced lots of cartoon stories for the magazine Punch. His other popular novels include The Red House Mystery (1922), The Sunny Side, The Magic Hill, Toad of a Toad Hall, and many others. The moment his books on Winnie the Pooh were published, people forgot about his previous works.

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A rare Winnie-the-Pooh book showing an inscription from author A.A. Milne asking for artist E.H. Shephard to decorate his tomb is displayed at a press preview at Sotheby’s Auctioneers on December 15, 2008, in London. Sotheby’s is holding an auction of original artworks and rare first edition books featuring the famous characters by A.A. Milne from the private collections of Stanley J. Seeger and Christopher Cone on December 17, 2008. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Despite the joy Milne brought into the lives of people with his stories on Winnie the Pooh, his life wasn’t full of joy. After he came to limelight with his Pooh stories, he wasn’t able to continue in that fame. He continued to release plays and novels, but none was able to make him as relevant as Winnie the Pooh did. He hated being known as a children’s writer. He also had issues with his son who felt Milne left him with just empty fame of being his son. They hardly visited each other. In 1952, Milne had a stroke which had him sitting on the wheelchair till when he died in 1956.

Disney Purchased Pooh

Walt Disney acquired the motion picture rights of Winnie the Pooh from the Milne’s wife after his death. The sale to Walt Disney helped to make his brand thrive till the 2000s. Cartoons of Winnie the Pooh were first released in the 1960s. In 1977, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was released. In 1980, Disney started television shows of Welcome to Pooh Corner and The New Adventures of Winnie The Pooh. The 2000s featured The Tigger Movie, Piglet’s Big Movie, Pooh’s Heffalump Movie and the CGI series My Friends Tigger & Pooh.

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The unveiling of the original map of Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood by E.H Shepard at Sotheby’s saleroom in central London ahead of its sale by the auction house. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)

Milne was a close friend with Author P.G. Wodehouse (creator of the unflappable butler Jeeves) during his early days. They had a rift as a result of a decision made by Wodehouse during the World War II. It happened that the German army captured Wodehouse and sent him to life in an internment camp. On realizing whom they had just captured, the Germans took him to a 5-star hotel and asked him to do a series of recordings about his internment to which he agreed. Wodehouse broadcasts did not go down well with Milne. Milne criticized him openly and even asked that Wodehouse’s license is withdrawn. After the war, they were still at loggerheads with each other with Wodehouse saying that ”Alan Alexander Milne should trip over a loose bootlace and break his bloody neck.”

The Locations in “Winnie the Pooh” were based on a Forest near Milne’s Home

The 500-acre wood forest near Milne’s home served as the inspiration of the fictional Hundred Acre Wood. The Galleon’s Leap was based on a hilltop in Gill’s Lap. Many of the shown Landscapes in the book, was inspired by the famous and unique landscape of Ashdown Forest. Though the Ashdown Forest was famous for deer hunting, bears have never been seen to living there. The favorite animals in the forest include Foxes, stoats, weasels, and badgers.

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Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visit the Pavillion where he viewed Winnie the Pooh displays before being presented with Action Bear on May 21, 2014, in WINNIPEG, Canada. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

In 2014, there was a meeting held in a town in Poland named Tuszyn to decide a new patron for a local children playground. Winnie the Pooh was among the suggestions, but it was denounced because residents of the town were primarily troubled with the fact that Winnie wasn’t putting on Pants. In the words of the Councillor of the Town named Ryszard Cichy, “Winnie is half naked and inappropriate for children”.