First published on this day back in 1926, A.A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh has become one of our most beloved characters in children’s literature and on screen. In part thanks to Disney and their purchasing of the rights back in the 1960s, he has become as much a cultural icon as Mickey Mouse (whilst retaining his British origins) and continues to gain popularity across the globe, despite occasional sparring between Disney and A.A Milne’s estate. However that doesn’t stop Winnie the Pooh from being a commercial goldmine and one of Disney’s most profitable characters.
I can’t remember when I was first introduced to Winnie the Pooh and all of the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood but he is the one literary and Disney character that defined my childhood. I read the four books (Winnie the Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young, Now We Are Six – two stories and two collections of poetry) out of this box set on a regular basis, I always sang along to ‘Hundred Acre Wood’ whenever I heard it play on my computer disc or mine and my sister’s many vhs cassettes, and the plushes were the first Disney plushes I owned. My family and I also made sure we took trips to Ashdown Forest – the real Hundred Acre Wood – to play pooh sticks whenever we went down to Hastings on holiday. And lastly I remember my sister riding her new go-cart around the green opposite my grandmother’s house wearing Tigger onesie pyjamas that she wouldn’t take off.
To me he was a lovable character who would do anything for his friends and that sticks out as one of the reasons behind his universal appeal for children and adults.
I didn’t notice it back then but now when I watch Winnie the Pooh or come across any of the literature, there is a lot of wisdom to these characters and the Hundred Acre Wood. And it’s apparent whenever I see quotes like this:
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
“You can’t stay in the corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
“If the person you are talking to does not appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”
“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.”
Whatever people say to me, I will always love Winnie the Pooh and cherish those memories because whilst these characters might have been created for children in mind, their appeal and lovable nature transcend age.
Here’s to more years of Winnie the Pooh and the growing popularity of the Hundred Acre Wood, whether it happen through literature or Disney!
Thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!