Before Winnie-the-Pooh was a Disney superstar, before author A. A. Milne even considered the forest adventures of a beloved bumbling bear, he was a gift to a young boy on his first birthday. Milne purchased the soft teddy bear at Harrods department store and gave it to his son Christopher Robin on August 21, 1921. Over the years, several animals followed, including a tiger, a kangaroo, a donkey, and a tiny velveteen pig. When Milne penned Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928), both beautifully illustrated by Ernest Howard Shepard, he named the bear for his son’s stuffed companion (who was in turn named for a real black bear called Winnie at the London Zoo). Each of the toys came to life within the pages, where they populated the Hundred Acre Wood, modeled on the Ashdown Forest outside the Milnes’ East Sussex home.
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