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Archive for the ‘Teddy Bears’ Category

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I am of course referring to Winnie the Pooh. Whether it is the Disney version which we are seeing so often nowadays or the classic bear with no red t-shirt, they are both still the same adorable bear that values friendship. I have a small collection of Pooh merchandise at home and I love every single one of them. Unfortunately, I have yet to own the complete works of A. A. Milne. I hope to one day be able to get a complete volume of Winnie the Pooh. For those who might not be familiar with how the bear came about, here is a short history.

Winnie the Pooh is a fictional character created by Alexander Alan Milne based on a teddy bear that his son owned. The soft toy was a birthday present for his son, Christopher Robin loved to visit a bear called Winnipeg at the London zoo. Winnipeg was the unofficial mascot of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade. One of its lieutenant (Harry Colebourn), bought the bear for $20 from a hunter and the bear followed the unit until Britain. A. A. Milne bought a soft toy bear for his son’s birthday. The toy bear that Christopher Robin owned however, was originally called Edward bear. It was later changed to ‘Winnie’, after the bear at the zoo, and ‘Pooh’ after a swan which was in itself a character in ‘When We Were Very Young’. Milne did give an explanation as to why Winnie the Pooh, was often simply called ‘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.”
1st chapter of Winnie-the-Pooh

I like the cute explanation of Winnie being called Pooh above. =) Well, the other characters of Kanga, Roo, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore are also based on stuffed animals belonging to Christopher Robin. These friends had a series of exciting adventures in the Hundred-Acre-Wood which is based on the Ashdown Forrest near Milne’s country home.

The books of Winnie the Pooh were all illustrated by E. H. Shepard. Milne was at first hesitant about letting him illustrate Pooh but soon changed his mind. I read from Wikipedia that Shepard claimed to have modelled Pooh not on the toy that Christopher ARobin owned but instead on ‘Growler’, the stuffed bear that his son owned. Whichever bear he used as his model, I have to say the results were still very nice.

As usual, some other sites of interest:
http://www.just-pooh.com/history.html – The magical World of Pooh
http://winniethepooh.disney.co.uk/index.jsp – UK’s official site for Pooh
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winnie_the_Pooh – Wikipedia’s entry on the bear

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