5 Fun Facts for Winnie-the-Pooh Day

“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t. Anyhow here he is at the bottom, and ready to be introduced to you. Winnie-the-Pooh.”

                 –from Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne

January 18 is the birthday of A.A. Milne, the author of Winnie-the-Pooh, and is commonly known as Winnie-the-Pooh Day! What better way to celebrate Winnie-the-Pooh Day than to learn some new and interesting things about our favorite bear as well as look at some of the wonderful Pooh-isms that we love so much?

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“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.”

Do you know where Winnie-the-Pooh got his name?
As Milne explains in his introduction of Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin has a swan (or the swan had Christopher Robin) that he called Pooh. After the swan was gone, Christopher Robin went to the zoo and saw a bear named Winnipeg, or Winnie. So when Edward Bear needed a new name, Christopher Robin called him Winnie-the-Pooh.

“I’m not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.”

Did you know the Hundred Acre Wood was based on a real place?
Cotchford Farm, A.A. Milne’s country home in East Sussex, backed up to the northern edge of Ashdown Forest, which had a section called Five Hundred Acre Wood, in which Christopher Robin frequently played. Other fictional places in the stories, such as Roo’s Sandpit and Galleon’s Lap, are also based on real locations. The wooden bridge Christopher Robin and his nanny would take to get from Cotchford Farm to Ashdown Forest is now called Poohsticks Bridge. Additional information: There is an annual World Poohsticks Championship, but it is held at Day’s Lock on the River Thames in Oxfordshire.

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘What about lunch?’”

Did you know that Milne’s stories have been translated into more than 50 different languages, including Latin?
That’s right. Alexander Lenard released the Latin version of the story, titled Winnie Ille Pu. Though critics said it was “the very book that dozens of Americans, possibly even 50, have been waiting for,” the book became the first foreign-language book to be on the New York Times Best Seller List, where it remained for 20 weeks, selling approximately 125,000 copies. Winnie Ille Pu is the only book written in Latin to ever make the list.

“‘I don’t see much sense in that,’ said Rabbit. ‘No,’ said Pooh humbly, ‘there isn’t. But there was going to be when I began it. It’s just that something happened to it along the way.'”

Did you know that the first time Milne wrote about Christopher Robin’s now-famous bear, it was in a poem titled simply “Teddy Bear?”
Milne originally wrote “Teddy Bear” for a collection of children’s poems for his son, which became the book When We Were Very Young. The poem is about a short and stout teddy that is worried about his weight until he meets a king, nicknamed “the Handsome” who is quite stout himself. In the same book of poems is a poem called “The Mirror,” which is about the swan Christopher Robin used to call Pooh.

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”

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Finally, how would you rewrite the Tigger song?
As Milne’s first children’s book was a book of poems, I was challenged by a friend and co-worker to write my own version of the Tigger song, titled “The Wonderful Thing about Bookstores.” I asked her to write one too and so here they are.

A Wonderful Thing About Bookstores I
The wonderful thing about bookstores
(and bookstores are wonderful things)
Their shelves are full of good stories
You experience all sorts of things
Funny, scary, happy, or sad
Reading is oh so much fun
And, it’s wonderful that I love bookstores,
Because I work for one.
And now, I have to run.

A Wonderful Thing About Bookstores II
The wonderful thing about bookstores
Is bookstores are wonderful things
Their shelves are chock full of stories
Of dragons and cowboys and kings
They’re steamy, dreamy, schemey, screamy
Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!
But the most wonderful thing about bookstores is
I can work in one.
I can work in one.

So, what’s your entry?

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

And don’t forget to stop by your local HPB and stock up on books and movies all about your favorite bear of little brain.

One thought on “5 Fun Facts for Winnie-the-Pooh Day

  1. I just finished reading a book that covered Milne, as well as Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, J.M. Barrie and Kenneth Grahame: Inventing Wonderland by Jackie Wullschlager. A very interesting, though somewhat sad, book (Milne had the most normal life of all of them, and even he had difficulties that sprang out of the popularity of his Pooh books). I didn’t fully agree with Wullschlager, who considers the Pooh books to be the end of the great children’s fantasy era (she writes off Tolkien and Lewis and she virtually ignored non-British writers, so the Oz books were left out), but the book is still a worthwhile read.

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