National Winnie the Pooh Day on January 18th commemorates author A.A. Milne’s birthday in 1882. He brought the adorable, honey-loving bear to life in his stories, which also featured his son, Christopher Robin.
Milne’s lovable Pooh Bear, as he was fondly called, is a fictional bear inspired by a black bear named Winnie. Winnie lived at the London Zoo during World War I. The author’s son, Christopher Robin, would visit the bear often and named his own teddy bear after her and a swan named Pooh. This friendship inspired a collection of books starting with When We Were Young in 1924. E.H. Shepard beautifully illustrated the books. Their adventures took them and millions of children through the Hundred Acre Woods. Each character played a unique role in the books. Whether the wisdom of Owl or Rabbit lead the group awry or a celebration ensued, the story’s characters became beloved around the world.
In the 1960s, Disney bought the rights to the Winnie-the-Pooh characters dropping the hyphen from Pooh’s name. The illustrations were a bit different, too. Milne’s stories have been translated into over 50 languages and are considered classic children’s stories today.