How did Winnie the Pooh become the tubby little cubby
all stuffed with fluff as we know him now? Read on to find out!
The story of Winnie the Pooh started when a young vet
living in Winnipeg, Canada, was stretching his legs on a train platform in
Ontario. This man, Harry Colebourn, was serving in the Canadian Army
at the time. He saw a man cradling a tiny orphaned black bear cub, and
bought it for $20. The bear, who Harry called Winnie after his hometown
in Winnipeg, became the Canadian Army's mascot. After coming to England,
Harry Colebourn and the other Canadian soldiers had to go to France, so
Winnie was put in the care of London Zoo. When Lieutenant Colebourn
came back from France, he found that Winnie was having such a wonderful
time at the Zoo that he decided to let him stay there forever. Winnie lived until
Christopher Robin was one of Winnie's greatest fans, and was allowed to go
inside the cage with him. Here is a passage from the introduction to "Winnie the
So when Christopher Robin goes to the Zoo, he goes to where the Polar Bears
are, and he whispers something to the third keeper from the left, and doors are
unlocked, and we wander through dark passages and up steep stairs, until at last
we come to the special cage, and the cage is opened, and out trots something
brown and furry, and with a happy cry of "Oh, Bear!" Christopher Robin rushes
into its arms.
Since Christopher Robin loved Winnie so much, he renamed
the bear that he had received for his 1st birthday, Edward Bear, and called
him Winnie the Bear. A poem from "When We Were Very Young" tells
that Christopher Robin met a swan, and called him Pooh, but the swan has
gone now, so Christopher Robin changed Winnie the Bear to Winnie the
Pooh in honor of the swan.
Christopher Robin's father, Alan Alexander Milne, loved to watch Christopher
Robin and Pooh play together in Ashdown Forest, so he wrote stories about
them, along with Christopher Robin's other toys, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore,
Kanga and Roo. He also made up the characters Rabbit and Owl, based on
real animal living in the Forest. In the stories, Asdown Forest was called the
Hundred Acre Woods. "Winnie the Pooh" was published in 1926, followed
by "The House At Pooh Corner" in 1928.
In 1961 in America, Walt Disney was reading the Pooh stories to his children.
He liked the idea of Winnie the Pooh and his friends, so he decided to use Pooh
in a movie. After all of the neccesary paperwork, Walt set out to create his dream.
In 1966, "Winnie The Pooh And The Honey Tree" was a big success, and in 1968,
"Winnie The Pooh And The Blustery Day" won an Academy award. In 1974
another Pooh movie was made, called "Winnie The Pooh And Tigger Too".