Everyone knows Winnie The Pooh, the honey-loving bear who likes to hang out in The 100 Acre Woods with his friends Piglet, Eeyore and Christopher Robin. But did you know he’s been with us for nearly a 100 years? Or that you can send him a birthday card? Here are 15 of the sweetest facts about everyone’s favourite bear of very little brain. Which is your favourite?
1. The characters are all based on real toys
Yes, Pooh is a real toy! In fact, they all are! Pooh is based on a bear owned by Christopher Robin, AA Milne’s son. Yes, Christopher Robin is real too! AA Milne based his books on his son and his toys, and now the whole world knows about their adventures! As well as a bear, Christopher Robin also had a stuffed pig, a stuffed donkey, a stuffed tiger and a stuffed kangaroo, which became Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger and Kanga!
2. You can send birthday cards to Pooh
That’s right, you can send Pooh a birthday card through the post! Pooh currently lives at the New York Public Library, where you can send him a card! To celebrate 90 years since he was first given to Christopher Robin (August 21st, 1921), the library encouraged children to write Pooh a card! Lots of people wrote in!
3. There is a Poohsticks World Championships
Yes, every year in Oxfordshire a Poohsticks Championships is held to celebrate the game invented by Pooh and friends. But you don’t have to enter to play! If you’ve never played it’s very simple: Get some friends to choose a stick each, drop it into a river over the side of a bridge and watch to see who’s comes out the other side first! The championships have been going on and off since 1984, and the winner gets a trophy!
4. There is a Winne the Pooh society at Cambridge University
Pembroke College in Cambridge has a whole society dedicated to Pooh! The club was founded to appreciate the books and words of AA Milne, and activities mostly revolve around reading, eating cake and drinking tea! They meet weekly, and the Queen is apparently a member! We don’t imagine she has much time to visit, but it’s a nice idea!
5. Pooh has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
A star on the Hollywood walk of fame is a true sign that you’ve made it, and Pooh has his very own! It was awarded in 2006 and Pooh himself attended the ceremony! Pooh is also one of Disney’s most treasured characters – only Mickey Mouse is more popular!
6. Winnie the Pooh is based on a real bear
Not just the toy, but an actual bear! Winnie, or Winnipeg, was a bear who lived at London zoo. AA Milne and Christopher Robin used to visit the zoo and see Winnie. Unlike Pooh, Winnie is actually a girl! She came from Canada where she was rescued by solider Harry Colebourn, and was an unofficial mascot during WW1. Christopher Robin named his toy bear after her, and the rest is history!
7. His favourite food is honey
Pooh is famous for loving the sticky treat! Not only does he love honey, it’s also got him into a lot of scrapes, including getting stuck in a tree and getting stuck in rabbits door. Pooh’s love of honey is nearly as famous as the bear himself, although of course he spells it ‘hunny’. Do you like the sticky treat as much as Pooh?
8. You can visit the toys in real life
All of the original toys are now on display in the New York Public Library. They were first brought to the USA for a tour, along with a ‘birth certificate’ written by AA Milne. Roo isn’t there though – according to the author, he was stolen by a dog! Although there has been attempts to have the toys brought back to their home in the UK, they are still in New York, where they recently underwent restoration.
9. 18th January is National Winne the Pooh day!
18th of January is National Winnie the Pooh day, as it’s also AA Milne’s birthday. AA Milne was born in 1882, but didn’t start writing the Pooh stories until the 1920s. How would you celebrate the day? Perhaps a tea party with some honey? You could invite heffalumps! Just don’t eat so much honey that you get stuck in Rabbit’s door!
10. Pooh’s actual name is Edward
Yes, that’s right – he’s not Winnie the Pooh at all! How do we know? Because it’s in the very first line of the first Pooh story – ‘Here is Edward bear, coming downstairs’. The reason he’s called Edward is probably because that’s what ‘Teddy’ is short for, but Teddy bears are actually named after US president Theodore Roosevelt. Lots of different names for one small bear!
11. The 100 Acre Wood is also based on a real place
The 100 Acre Woods are almost as famous as Pooh himself, and inspired by Ashdown Woods, East Sussex. In real life, they’re actually 500 acres, so much bigger than Pooh’s woods! AA Milne lived near the woods, which Christopher Robin would often explore, and he incorporated them into the books. Today you can visit the woods and see several signposts showing where some of the stories are set.
12. Jim Cummings has been voicing Pooh for over 30 years
Jim Cummings is a famous voice actor who has voiced almost 400 characters! Winnie the Pooh was first voiced by Hal Smith, and then Sterling Holloway. Jim Cummings took over the voice of Winnie The Pooh in 1988, and he’s being doing it ever since. In fact, he not only voices Pooh – he also voices Tigger, which means sometimes, he’s talking to himself!
13. Winnie the Pooh has been translated into over 50 languages
Winnie the Pooh is beloved all over the world, and has been translated into dozens of languages, including Latin and Esperanto. In fact, the Latin translation became an unexpected hit! The books have sold in their millions, making Pooh one of the most famous characters in children’s literature, alongside his fellow bear Paddington.
14. He was illustrated by the same artist who drew The Wind in The Willows
Winnie The Pooh was originally illustrated by an artist called E.H. Shepard, who was mostly a newspaper cartoonist. Shepard’s other most famous work is Wind in the Willows, another famous story about talking animals and their adventures. In later years, Shepard felt that Winnie The Pooh had overshadowed his other work, but no one can deny there is something special about his Pooh sketches, which are instantly recognisable.
15. It’s nearly 100 years since Winnie the Pooh was first published!
Yes it’s been almost a century since Pooh first appeared in a poem in 1924. He first appeared in his own stories in 1925, and then his first Disney short film, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree in 1966. He and his cast of friends continue to star in films and stories, the latest being Christopher Robin in 2018. Since his first appearance, Pooh has become world famous, and has appeared in films, books, plays and TV shows! He’s quite the celebrity!