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Winnie-the-Pooh, commonly shortened to Pooh Bear and once referred to as Edward Bear, is a fictional bear created by A. A. Milne. The first collection of stories about the character was the book Winnie-the-Pooh (1926), and this was followed by The House at Pooh Corner (1928). Milne also included a poem about the bear in the children’s verse book When We Were Very Young (1924) and many more in Now We Are Six (1927). All four volumes were illustrated by E. H. Shepard.

The hyphens in the character's name were later dropped when The Walt Disney Company adapted the Pooh stories into a series of Winnie the Pooh featurettes that became one of the company's most successful franchises worldwide: see Winnie the Pooh .

The Pooh stories have been translated into many languages, notably including Alexander Lenard's Latin translation, Winnie ille Pu, which was first published in 1958, and, in 1960, became the first foreign-language book to be featured on the New York Times Best Seller List, and is the only book in Latin ever to have been featured therein.



Milne named the character Winnie-the-Pooh after a teddy bear owned by his son, Christopher Robin Milne, who was the basis for the character Christopher Robin. His toys also lent their names to most of the other characters, except for Owl and Rabbit, as well as the Gopher character, who was added in the Disney version. Christopher Robin's toy bear is now on display at the Main Branch of the New York Public Librarymarker in New Yorkmarker.

Harry Colebourne and Winnie 1914
Christopher Milne had named his toy bear after Winnie, a bear which he often saw at London Zoomarker, and "Pooh", a swan they had met while on holiday. The bear cub was purchased from a hunter for $20 by Canadian Lieutenant Harry Colebourn in White River, Ontariomarker, Canadamarker, while en-route to England during the First World War. He named the bear "Winnie" after his hometown in Winnipegmarker, Manitoba. "Winnie" was surreptitiously brought to England with her owner, and gained unofficial recognition as The Fort Garry Horse regimental mascot. Colebourne left Winnie at the London Zoo while he and his unit were in France; after the war she was officially donated to the zoo, as she had become a much loved attraction there. Pooh the swan appears as a character in its own right in When We Were Very Young.

In the first chapter of Winnie-the-Pooh, Milne offers this explanation of why Winnie-the-Pooh is often called simply "Pooh":
"But his arms were so stiff ... they stayed up straight in the air for more than a week, and whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off. And I think — but I am not sure — that that is why he is always called Pooh."

Cotchford Farm, Milne's home in Ashdown Forestmarker in East Sussexmarker, Englandmarker, was the basis for the setting of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. The name of the fictional "Hundred Acre Wood" is reminiscent of the Five Hundred Acre Wood, which lies just outside Ashdown Forest and includes some of the locations mentioned in the book, such as the Enchanted Place.

The origin of the Poohsticks game is at the footbridge across a tributary of the River Medway near Upper Hartfield, close to the Milnes' home at Posingford Farm. It is traditional to play the game there using sticks gathered in nearby woodland. When the footbridge required replacement in recent times the engineer designed a new structure based closely on the drawings (by E H Shepherd) of the bridge in the original books, as the bridge did not originally appear as the artist drew it. There is an information board at the bridge which describes aspects of how to play the game.

First Publication

Winnie-the-Pooh's début in the Dec.
24, 1925 London Evening News
are three claimants, depending on the precise question posed. Christopher Robin's teddy bear, Edward, made his character début in a poem in Milne's book of children's verse When We Were Very Young (1924). Winnie-the-Pooh first appeared by name on 24 December 1925, in a Christmas story commissioned and published by the London newspaper The Evening News. It was illustrated by J. H. Dowd. The first collection of Pooh stories appeared in the book Winnie-the-Pooh. The Evening News Christmas story reappeared as the first chapter of the book, and at the very beginning it explained that Pooh was in fact Christopher Robin's Edward Bear, who had simply been renamed by the boy. The book was published in October 1926 by the publisher of Milne's earlier children's work, Methuen, in England, and E. P. Dutton in the United States.


An authorised sequel Return to the Hundred Acre Wood was published on 5 October 2009. The author, David Benedictus, has developed, but not changed, Milne's characterisations. The illustrations, by Mark Burgess, are in the style of Shepard.

Stephen Slesinger

On January 6, 1930, Stephen Slesinger purchased U.S. and Canadian merchandising, television, recording and other trade rights to the "Winnie-the-Pooh" works from Milne for a $1000 advance and 66% of Slesinger's income, creating the modern licensing industry. By November 1931, Pooh was a $50 million-a-year business. Slesinger marketed Pooh and his friends for more than 30 years, creating the first Pooh doll, record, board game, puzzle, US radio broadcast (NBC), animation, and motion picture film. In 1961, Disney acquired rights from Slesinger to produce articles of merchandise based on characters from its feature animation.

Red Shirt Pooh

The first time Pooh and his friends appeared in color was 1932, when he was drawn by Slesinger in his now-familiar red shirt and featured on an RCA Victor picture record. Parker Brothers also introduced A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh Game in 1933, again with Pooh in his red shirt. In the 1940s, Agnes Brush created the first plush dolls with Pooh in his red shirt.


Disney's adaptation of Stephen Slesinger, Inc.'s Winnie-the-Pooh.

After Slesinger's death in 1953, his wife, Shirley Slesinger Lasswell, continued developing the character herself. In 1961, she licensed rights to Walt Disney Productions in exchange for royalties in the first of two agreements between Stephen Slesinger, Inc. and Disney. The same year, Daphne Milne also licensed certain rights, including motion picture rights, to Disney.

Since 1966, Disney has released numerous animated productions starring Winnie the Pooh and related characters. These have included theatrical featurettes, television series, and direct-to-video films, as well as the theatrical feature-length films The Tigger Movie, Piglet's Big Movie, and Pooh's Heffalump Movie.

In December 2005, Disney announced a Disney Channel animated television series, My Friends Tigger & Pooh, focusing on adventures had by 6-year-old Darby and the Pooh characters, with the occasional appearance from Christopher Robin. The show began airing on the Disney Channel on May 12, 2007.

The Disney version of Winnie the Pooh was featured in Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, the Kingdom Hearts videogames and the TV series House of Mouse

Pooh also appears at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as a meet-able and child friendly character.

Merchandising revenue dispute

Pooh videos, teddy bears, and other merchandise generate substantial annual revenues for Disney. The size of Pooh stuffed toys ranges from Beanie and miniature to human-sized. In addition to the stylized Disney Pooh, Disney markets Classic Pooh merchandise which more closely resembles E.H. Shepard’s illustrations. It is estimated that Winnie the Pooh features and merchandise generate as much revenue as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto combined.

In 1991, Stephen Slesinger, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Disney which alleged that Disney had breached their 1983 agreement by again failing to accurately report revenue from Winnie the Pooh sales. Under this agreement, Disney was to retain approximately 98% of gross worldwide revenues while the remaining 2% was to be paid to Slesinger. In addition, the suit alleged that Disney had failed to pay required royalties on all commercial exploitation of the product name. Though the Disney corporation was sanctioned by a judge for destroying forty boxes of evidential documents, the suit was later terminated by another judge when it was discovered that Slesinger's investigator had rummaged through Disney's garbage in order to retrieve the discarded evidence. Slesinger appealed the termination, and on September 26, 2007, a three-judge panel upheld the lawsuit dismissal.

After the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, Clare Milne, Christopher Milne's daughter, attempted to terminate any future U.S. copyrights for Stephen Slesinger, Inc. After a series of legal hearings, Judge Florence-Marie Cooper of the United States District Court for the Central District of California found in favour of Stephen Slesinger, Inc., as did the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On June 26, 2006, the U.S.marker Supreme Courtmarker refused to hear the case, sustaining the ruling and ensuring the defeat of the suit.

On 19 February 2007 Disney lost a court case in Los Angeles which ruled their "misguided claims" to dispute the licensing agreements with Slesinger, Inc. were unjustified, but a federal ruling of 28 September 2009, again from Judge Florence-Marie Cooper, determined that the Slesinger family had granted all trademark and copyright rights to Disney, although Disney must pay royalties for all future use of the characters. Both parties have expressed satisfaction with the outcome.




RCA Victor record from 1932 decorated with Stephen Slesinger, Inc.'s Winnie-the-Pooh.
Selected Pooh stories read by Maurice Evans released on vinyl LP:
  • Winnie-the-Pooh (consisting of three tracks: Introducing Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin; Pooh Goes Visiting and Gets Into a Tight Place; Pooh and Piglet Go Hunting and Nearly Catch a Woozle) 1956
  • More Winnie-the-Pooh (consisting of three tracks: Eeyore Loses a Tail; Piglet Meets a Heffalump; Eeyore Has a Birthday.)

Unabridged recordings read by Peter Dennis of the four Pooh books:
  • When We Were Very Young
  • Winnie-the-Pooh
  • Now We Are Six
  • The House at Pooh Corner


  • Winnie-the-Pooh was broadcast by Donald Calthrop over all BBC stations on Christmas Day, 1925


Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends debuted on NBC Television in 1960.
version of Winnie The Pooh, in which the animals were played by marionettes, was presented on Oct. 3, 1960, on NBC Television's The Shirley Temple Show.

Five playtime videos(NOTE: These are episodes from The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh)
  • 2003: Cowboy Pooh
  • 2003: Detective Tigger
  • 2004: Pooh Party
  • Fun 'N Games

Magical World of Winnie the Pooh(NOTE: These are episodes from The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh)

Full-length features *These features integrate stories from The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and/or holiday specials with new footage.

These features were Direct-to-video.

Television shows
"Vinni Pukh" and Piglet as they appear in the Russian adaptation.

Holiday TV specials

Soviet adaptation

In the Soviet Unionmarker, three Winnie-the-Pooh, or "Vinni Pukh" (Russian language: Винни-Пух) stories were made into a celebrated trilogy of short films by Soyuzmultfilm (directed by Fedor Khitruk) from 1969 to 1972. Pooh was voiced by Yevgeny Leonov, looking distinctly different from both the yellow-and-red Disney incarnation and Shepard's illustrations. He was brown instead of yellow, as he is known in the US.

Video games

References in other media

  • Winnie-the-Pooh is such a popular character in Polandmarker that a Warsawmarker street is named after him, "Ulica Kubusia Puchatkamarker." There is also a street named after him in Budapest (Micimackó utca).
  • In the "sport" of Poohsticks, competitors drop sticks into a stream from a bridge and then wait to see whose stick will cross the finish line first. Though it began as a game played by Pooh and his friends in the stories, it has crossed over into the real world: a World Championship Poohsticks race takes place in Oxfordshire each year.
  • The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff use Milne's characters in an effort to explain Taoism in an accessible way.
  • In December 2000, a Canadian medical journal jokingly "diagnosed" characters in the books and films with various mental illnesses
  • A number of philosophical books have been written about Winnie the Pooh – Postmodern Pooh and The Pooh Perplex by Frederick Crews rewrite stories from Pooh's world in abtruse academic jargon (from a number of sources including postmodernism, psychoanalysis and so on) for the purpose of satire [710218]. Pooh and the Philosophers by John T. Williams uses Winnie the Pooh as a backdrop to illustrate the works of philosophers including Descartes, Kant, Plato and Nietzsche [710219].
  • Not everyone was a fan of the original stories. Dorothy Parker in particular was critical of what she considered A. A. Milne's "dumbing down of English for children", a criticism she had for many other children's book authors as well. In her pseudonym as Constant Reader in the New Yorker magazine she made one of her most famous barbs when she, while reviewing one of the stories, wrote, "and it is precisely at that word, 'hunny' that Tonstant Weader fwowed up."
  • Kenny Loggins wrote the song "House at Pooh Corner", which was originally recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Loggins later rewrote the song as "Return to Pooh Corner", featuring on the album of the same name in 1991.

See also


  1. "The Adventures of the Real Winnie-the-Pooh. The New York Public Library.
  2. "Winnie". Historica Minutes, The Historica Foundation of Canada. Retrieved on 2008-05-30.
  3. "The Curse of Pooh." Fortune.
  4. "New-look Pooh 'has girl friend'." BBC News.
  5. "The Curse of Pooh" Fortune.
  6. "The Pooh Files" The Albion Monitor.
  7. "Judge dismisses Winnie the Pooh lawsuit" The Disney Corner.
  8. "Winnie the Pooh goes to court" USA Today
  9. "Justices Refuse Winnie the Pooh Case." ABC News.
  10. Russian animation in letters and figures | Films | «Winnie the Pooh»
  11. Google Maps
  12. "Pathology in the Hundred Acre Wood: a neurodevelopmental perspective on A.A. Milne." The Canadian Medical Association Journal. December 12, 2000. V163: 12.
  13. House at Pooh Corner by Loggins and Messina Songfacts

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