Winnie the Pooh Day
“What day is it?”, asked Winnie the Pooh.
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favourite day,” said Pooh.
― A.A. Milne
Today, January 18th, is the birthday of author A.A. Milne. And it is thus, that today we celebrate what I believe to be his most marvellous creation: Winnie the Pooh.
Winnie the Pooh first captured my heart before I can even remember. The stories are not only my most-listened-to-by-far audio books, but the only books that I first read before the age of ten and still reread today. (That said, it’s hard to know how much I actually read, and how much I know off by heart). As you can tell, I’m a fan.
The first collection of stories about the character was the book Winnie-the-Pooh in 1926, and this was followed by The House at Pooh Corner in 1928. Milne also included a poem about the bear in the children’s verse book When We Were Very Young and many more in Now We Are Six. All four volumes were illustrated brilliantly by E. H. Shepard.
It’s not just the wonderful “Bear of Very Little Brain” who deserves our attention though. A.A. Milne created so many other animals, all full of character, who live in the Hundred Acre Wood, and he weaves these into stories so beautifully.
Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, and Tigger all have their own personalities, and their own strengths and weaknesses. Owl can spell his name – “Wol”, Rabbit makes sure everything is organised, and Piglet tries his best to be brave, even though he really is only a “Very Small Animal”.
“Sometimes,” said Pooh, “the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
― A.A. Milne
I’d imagine some people might wonder why someone in their twenties, without any younger siblings or children, still reads and listens to Winnie the Pooh stories.
Well, there are so many reasons; from the fun of experimenting with character voices, to the captivating nature of Pooh’s adventures, as simple as they may be, and, not forgetting, how calm the stories make me feel. In short, I find Winnie-the-Pooh and A House at Pooh Corner both comforting and inspiring.
Almost everyone had their bear or cuddly toy as a child, and I don’t think it’s something we ever need lose from our hearts.
If I had to pick one thing about the Winnie the Pooh stories that I love the most, or one particular section, I would pick the ending – because in truth it’s not an ending at all. The last story in The House at Pooh Corner is called “In which Christopher Robin and Pooh come to an enchanted place, and we leave them there”. It’s my go-to when something in my life is changing, or seems unsettled, or if I lose someone. It reminds me that things are really okay.
And given that this year’s Winnie the Pooh Day coincides with Blue Monday, the joy that A.A. Milne’s ‘Winnie the Pooh’ can bring, is most welcome.
“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”
― (Christopher Robin to Pooh), A.A. Milne
If you want to do something to celebrate Winnie the Pooh Day, here are some suggestions!
You could have a teddy bears’ picnic, featuring plenty of honey on the menu of course. You could make up your own Winnie the Pooh story, or a story about your own childhood bear. You could even just enjoy reading or listening to the books.
One extra-special way to mark the day, should you find yourself in the south of the UK, is to visit Pooh Corner in Hartfield, East Sussex, where the books were written. You can pick up a map to follow in the characters’ footsteps, and even play a game of Poohsticks on the original bridge.
However you decide to appreciate Winnie the Pooh and author A.A. Milne, I wish you a great day.
This post was written by Holly Newson.