September 16, 2021
Before The Publication Of The Books
In this colorized image, the real Christopher Robin is posing with the real Winnie the Pooh. His father, A.A. Milne, drew on his son’s imagination to create characters for his best selling books.
Prior to the publication of Winnie the Pooh, Milne published a poem about Edward Bear, “Teddy Bear,” in the February 13, 1924 edition of Punch; the poem was also included in Milne’s book of children’s verse, When We Were Very Young, also published in 1924. Then, Winnie the Pooh made his debut in a short story, “The Wrong Sort of Bees” commissioned and published by the London Evening News on Christmas Eve, 1925. In the story, Christopher Robin brings his renamed bear down the stairs and asks his father to tell a story about Pooh. And thus the world was introduced to Christopher Robin Milne and his beloved stuffed animals.
A Character Is Born
Christopher Robin was born on August 21, 1920. His parents called him Billy Moon at home, which was derived from his father’s original desire to call him Billy and his own early mispronunciation of “Milne.” Christopher Robin received a bear from Harrods on August 21, 1921, which he named Edward Bear. Edward would become Winnie in the book. Winnie was also inspired by a real black bear in the London Zoo; this bear was named Winnipeg. Winnie’s “surname” came from a swan named Pooh. Several other characters in the books were based on Christopher Robin’s other stuffed animals: Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Kanga, and Roo. Two characters, Owl and Rabbit, did not have stuffed counterparts. A.A. Milne bought Cotchford Farm, a mile north of Ashdown Forest in 1925, which would also provide inspiration for the places in his works. Unfortunately, A.A. Milne suffered from the effects of fighting in World War I, and was quite distant from the son who helped to provide inspiration for his best-selling works. While he was in his office working, Christopher Robin’s mother, Agnes, and his nanny were the ones to play with the boy. As Christopher Robin has said, “It was my mother who used to come and play in the nursery with me and tell him about the things I thought and did. It was she who provided most of the material for my father’s books.”