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* Owl’s birthday message to Pooh.

Today is the birthday of Alan Alexander Milne, creator of Winnie-the-Pooh, born in 1882 in London, England. He wrote his famous “Winnie the Pooh” books for his son, Christopher Robin. Pooh and the other characters were based on Christopher’s toys, and the 100-Acre Wood was based on a forest near the family’s farm in Sussex. The name “Winnie the Pooh” comes from two animals in the London Zoo; a bear named Winnipeg and a swan named Pooh.

Winnie the Pooh was a memorable part of my childhood, though not the books (we got some much later for my son) but the Disney cartoon, in particular, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, which was released in 1968. Love those Heffalumps and Woozles! The early cartoons did a good job of capturing the homey British charm of the original. The later ones (1990’s and onward) have more of a modern American feel. I find them just plain aggravating.

By the way, I’ve read that the actual Christopher Robin was later resentful about his father’s conversion of his childhood fantasies into books. That’s unfortunate, but I’m sure that AA meant well. If I had been in Christopher’s place, I would have milked that unearned fame for all it was worth.

One more interesting tidbit: Wikipedia reports that Winnie-the-Pooh has been censored in China because of internet memes comparing the roly-poly bear to China’s paunchy leader Xi Jinping. Recalling Russia’s ban of the “gay Putin” meme, it seems that Eurasian leaders seem don’t have much of a sense of humor, do they?

Images from wikimedia commons.

Photo of A.A. Milne by E. O. Hoppé, London – Shadowland, September 1922

Photo of Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed toys, early 1920’s, uploaded by Spictacular.

Photo of Winne the bear with Harry Colebourne, 1914, Manitoba Provincial Archives


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