In 1914, during World War I, troops from Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada) were being transported to eastern Canada on their way overseas to Europe. When the train stopped at White River, Ontario, there was a trapper standing on the platform with a bear cub. One of the soldiers who stepped off the train to take a break was Captain Harry Colebourn, a Canadian Army veterinarian. Colebourn bought the cub for $20 and named her "Winnipeg", or "Winnie" for short. Winnie became the mascot of the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade and went to Britain with the unit. Unfortunately, when the Brigade was posted to the battlefields of France, Winnie could not go. She was placed instead with the London Zoo, in Regent's Park.
Over the years the bear became very popular with the children and was well known for her playful nature. One little boy, in particular, was attracted to Winnie. The little boy's father (knowing of his son's attraction to Winnie) would often tell him bedtime stories about the bear and a make-believe world. The little boy (Christopher Robin Milne) was a featured character in most of those stories. The little boy's father (A.A. Milne) went on to write a series of books about "Winnie-the-Pooh" (the bear from Winnipeg), Christopher Robin (his son), and their friends at "100-Aker Wood".
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Who wrote the Christopher Robin books?
Alan Alexander Milne (1882-1956) , a professional English writer who lived with his wife Dorothy, son Christopher
Robin "Moon" Milne and assorted servants, alternately on Mallord Street in Chelsea, and at Cotchford Farm, near
Hartfield. Milne wrote prolifically - twelve books of essays from such periodicals as The Sphere, The Outlook, The
Daily News, The Sunday Express, Vanity Fair, and Punch , as well as more than twenty plays, five novels,
autobiographical material and assorted articles. Of these, only the play Toad of Toad Hall (a dramatization of Kenneth
Grahame's Wind in the Willows ) and the novel Mr. Pim Passes By received much acclaim, and this was nothing
compared to the popular adulation reserved for the Christopher Robin Books. Dorothy Milne was more commonly known as Daphne. Also, Daphne is often considered to be the one who originally
provided "voices" and personalities for many of the characters. Daphne also submitted A.A. Milne's first (published)
Christopher Robin work, the poem "Vespers," to a magazine for publication without A.A.'s knowledge or permission.
Above is a photo of A. A. Milne with Christopher Robin on his lap. Sitting with them is the original Winnie the Pooh, Edward the Bear. Milne wrote the original Pooh books-- "Winnie-the-Pooh" in 1926 and "The House At Pooh Corner" in 1928.
Who illustrated them?
Ernest H. Shepard (1879-1976) did pen-and-ink drawings for Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner for
their first editions (14 Oct 1926 and 11 Oct 1928, respectively). He also did some watercolors for The World of Pooh
and The World of Christopher Robin in 1957, and colored his own pen and ink drawings for editions in 1974. He was
also the illustrator for Pooh's Birthday Book (1963), The Pooh Song Book (1961), & The Pooh Story Book (1965),
among other Pooh-related material. Below is a photo of Ernest H. Shephard.
Winnie-the-Pooh, Eeyore, Rabbit, Tigger, Piglet, Owl, Kanga and Roo are fictional characters based on the original works of A.A. Milne and Ernest H. Shepard. The characters and their names are registered trademarks of the Disney Corporation and/or Dutton Children's Books. The images may or may not be fully copyrighted illustrations of the Disney Corporation and/or Dutton Children's Books.
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