When I was a kid, I just adored Winnie the Pooh. I loved the cartoons, I loved the stories, I loved all the characters. As I’ve gotten older, I still find myself coming back to the books again and again, every few years, for a well-deserved reread. It seems that no matter how old I get, there’s always been a place for me in The Hundred Acre Wood.
So, today, I’d like to take a look at some Winnie the Pooh books. But, not the usual storybooks and picture books. Think of these titles as a way of supplementing your reading, adding to the story, and enriching the experiences we all had as children when we were first introduced to Pooh and his friends. Of course, whether you’ve read the original stories multiple times or never read them at all, you can check out the original Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner at your library.
For many people, the most iconic look for Winnie the Pooh comes from the Disney cartoons. But for me, his most iconic look comes from the artwork of E. H. Shepard. When you think of “classic” Pooh, or read any of the original A.A. Milne books, those are the illustrations you’ll see. This enchanting book tells the story of how Shepard created the designs for some of the most enduring characters in literature, as well as the collaboration between Shepard and Milne. The Art of Winnie-the-Pooh contains more than 125 full-color images, never-before-seen sketches, artwork, photographs, and much more! This delightful book comes straight from the author’s estate, with a forward by his granddaughter, making it a moving tribute to the man who designed one of the most beloved children’s book characters of all time!
Arm-chair explorers rejoice; we’re going on an adventure! The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood is our first stop. This beautiful book provides the reader with a delightful and visual tour of Ashdown Forest, the original Hundred Acre Wood. When I was a child, I was always secretly disappointed that I couldn’t actually visit The Hundred Acre Wood. But, now, we all have the opportunity to see the next best thing. Ashdown Forest is a wildlife haven that spans more than 6,000 acres in southeast England. Visit the black walnut tree that became Pooh’s home, find Poohsticks Bridge, and climb Galleons Lap, where Christopher Robin and Pooh say goodbye. Additionally, learn about the plants and animals of Ashdown Forest, all without having to leave the comfort of your favorite reading nook. And perhaps best of all, the book is also supplemented by some of E.H. Shepard’s original illustrations and A.A. Milne’s own words, meaning you get to explore the Hundred Acre Wood with the two men who helped to create it.
The Best Bear in All the World is a year-long journey with Pooh and his friends. Commissioned by the Trustees of Pooh Properties, four authors have come together to write four new adventures for Pooh and his friends, one for each of the four seasons. Take a trip around The Hundred Acre Wood with a collection of stories that’s always in season! One story features Pooh and Piglet on a quest to find the “Sauce of the Nile” (they suspect its apple), while another tale introduces a new character–a stuffed penguin based on a toy owned by the real-life inspiration for Christopher Robin: A.A. Milne’s son. Lovingly written in Milne’s writing style, these stories are sure to delight generations of readers who are looking for some new adventures in The Hundred Acre Wood.
The Caldecott Award winning book, Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear tells the story of Captain Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian serving during WWI. Before travelling to Europe, Colbourn rescued a young bear cub in White River, Ontario and names it Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg and takes the bear to war with him. The book’s author, Lindsay Mattick is actually Colebourn’s great-granddaughter, who wanted to share his (and Winnie’s) story with the world. From Canada to a journey across the ocean, and then to England, where the cub’s journey ends at the London Zoo, the story ultimately culminates when Winnie makes a new friend in a visitor to the zoo– young Christopher Robin Milne. In addition to Sophie Blackall’s illustrations, this book also comes with photographs from the Colebourn family archives.
If you or one of the younger readers in your family would like to learn more about Captain Colbourn and Winnie, I also suggest picking up Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh. After seeing the baby bear for sale at the train station, Harry Colebourn knew he had to do something–after all, he was a veterinarian. But, he was also a soldier preparing for war, so he brought the bear along with him from Canada to England. Before long, the sweet little bear because the company’s mascot. But, as Harry prepared for the battlefields of France, he knew that he needed to leave his little friend someplace where she would be safe–and what better place than the London Zoo? And of course, just as in Finding Winnie, our little bear makes a very special friend in the form of a young boy named Christopher Robin.