History of Pooh

All about the creation of Winnie-the-Pooh

In 1926, "Winnie-the-Pooh", a collection of stories about a rather stout, somewhat confused bear, was publised in England and America. The enchanting tales of Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Christopher Robin,and the others were an immediate success, a a milneand firmly established A. A. Milne, already an aclaimed dramatist, as a major author of children's books. "Winnie-the-Pooh" was followed in 1928 by a second collection, "The House at Pooh Corner", which continued the adventures from the Hundred Acre Wood and introduced bouncy, lovable Tigger.

Ernest H. Shepard's brilliant illustrations were based on real toys owned by Milne's son, Christopher Robin. The artist visited Cotchford Farm, the Milne country home in Sussex, where he sketched the child, the stuffed animals, and the surrounding countryside.

The world of Winnie-the-Pooh is as popular today as when it was first created. "Winnie-the-Pooh" has appeared in twenty-one languages, among them Hebrew, Afrikaans, Esperanto, and Latin.

Alan Alexander Milne was born in England in 1882, the third and youngest son of London schoolteachers. As a boy he wrote verses, parodies, and short humorous pieces for his school's paper. He went on to study at Cambridge.

In 1903 he left school to write. Before long he was supporting himself on his earnings, and became an editor at "Punch" magazine. In 1913 ha married Dorothy do Selincourt. He began his military service in 1915 in Europe. During this time he wrote three plays, all of which were produced on the London stage.

Christopher Robin Milne was born in 1920. It was Christopher's toy bear, pig, donkey, tiger, and kangaroo that became the inspiration for the famous Pooh books.

A. A. Milne wrote more plays, a novel, his autobiography, and political nonfiction, although he is best remembered for "Winnie-the-Pooh", "The House at Pooh Corner", "When We Were Very Young", and "Now We Are Six". Milne died in 1956.

stuffed characters

The original toys that the stories were based on: (left-to right)
Winnie-the-Pooh, Kanga, Piglet, Eeyore, & Tigger.

Ernest H. Shepard was born in 1879 in London. His mother, who died when Ernest was ten, e h shepardencouraged her son to paint and draw, and there was never any doubt that Ernest would be an artist. He was later awarded medals for his work and was named a Landseer Scholar. In 1901 his first picture was exhibited in the Royal Academy.

In 1903 he married Florence Chaplin. The Shepards had two children-Graham, who was killed in World War II, and Mary, who later illustrated the Mary Poppins books.

Shepard served in Europe during the war. Afterward he joined the editorial board at "Punch", where he met A. A. Milne.

Shepard's drawings appear in many books for adults and children. Among them is Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows". Shepard died in 1976.

(from "The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh" by A. A. Milne with
decorations by Ernest H. Shepard; Dutton Children's Books, New York)

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Updated 06.22.01