A bear with a rumbly tummy… a small Piglet… a wise Owl… a vivacious Tigger… These are just some of the memorable characters first brought to life in A. A. Milne’s 1926 classic Winnie-the-Pooh.

More than 20 million copies and 85 years later, Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends still enchant children of all ages. The characters, their stories and the charming illustrations of E. H. Shepard have made Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories some of the most popular in the history of children’s literature.

Winnie-the-Pooh — also called “Pooh Bear” or sometimes just “Pooh” — was also featured in the 1928 collection of stories called The House at Pooh Corner.

Milne’s Pooh stories have been translated into nearly every language, including Latin. In fact, Alexander Lenard’s Latin translation, Winnie ille Pu, became the only Latin book ever to be featured on The New York Times Best Sellers List.

Milne based Winnie-the-Pooh on a teddy bear (originally named Edward Bear) owned by his son, Christopher Robin Milne, who was the basis for the character Christopher Robin. The original teddy bear can be seen today at the New York Public Library in New York City.

Many of the other characters, such as Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga and Roo, were also based on other stuffed animals owned by his son. Other characters, such as Rabbit and Owl, were based on animals that lived near Milne’s country home in England.

So how did the unique name of Winnie-the-Pooh come about? Christopher Robin Milne based the name “Winnie” on a real Canadian black bear named Winnipeg that he often visited at the London Zoo. The “Pooh” part of the name is believed to have been based on a swan of that name that he met while on vacation.

Since so many of the characters and names in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories are based on real objects and animals, you may be wondering if there’s really a Hundred Acre Wood — the magical land Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends call home. Believe it or not, there is!

The Hundred Acre Wood is based on a real place: Ashdown Forest in Sussex, England. Located just 30 miles south of London, Ashdown Forest is a quiet, peaceful landscape marked by heather and silver birch with hilltop clumps of pine trees.

The Hundred Acre Wood is based specifically on an area of Ashdown Forest known as the “Five Hundred Acre Wood.” People still visit Ashdown Forest to walk the areas featured in Winnie-the-Pooh stories.

Many years after the Winnie-the-Pooh stories were first published, they became favorites of Walt Disney’s young daughters. Disney brought Winnie-the-Pooh to film for the first time in 1966. After several feature films, Winnie-the-Pooh has become the most popular Disney character ever.

 

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    • We think Winnie-the-Pooh is pretty awesome, too, samTEAM! Did you like today’s Wonder about Winnie-the-Pooh and the Hundred Acre Wood? We sure hope you did! :-)

    • We really appreciate your comment today, EN.JO., and also your enthusiasm for Winnie-the-Pooh! We’re glad you liked today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  1. I really liked this Wonder, it was really nice. I liked that it was about the Hundred Acre Wood and Winnie-the-Pooh and friends. Tigger has always been my favorite character and he always will be!!!!!!!!!

    I think tomorrow’s wonder is either about sky-diving or parachuting.

    • Hi, Missy! Tigger is a favorite of many Wonder Friends! A. A. Milne created so many awesome characters to hang out in the Hundred Acre Wood: Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl…and we can’t forget Winnie-the-Pooh! Thanks so much for sharing your comment with us today! :-)

  2. The baby was really cute! We loved the video and listening to her sing. We all laughed! :)

    Many of us have seen Winnie the Pooh and love the show/books. We also thought it was interesting that the places and characters in the books were based on real things and people. We connected that to our own writing. Sometimes we write about real things that we have done or seen and we just change the names, much like that of Milne.

    Thanks for such a great wonder that allowed us to connect to!

    • It’s fun to find out that a famous writer used some of the same strategies that we use in our own writing processes, isn’t it, Kerrick Elementary? It’s also fun to write stories that have a personal connection! We thought it was neat to find out that the character, Winnie-the-Pooh, was based on a stuffed bear named Edward Bear! We think we like the name Winnie-the-Pooh much better! Thanks for your AWESOME comment today! :-)

  3. The book was really interesting. I found out that he got the names from his children’s stuffed animals and characters like owl and someone else that I forgot. All I know is the Winnie-the-Pooh book was really interesting and I like them now because of what he did about the books.

    • We’re glad you learned some new facts about A. A. Milne and his characters like Winnie-the-Pooh, Benjamin! Thank you so much for visiting Wonderopolis today and also for leaving us this awesome comment! :-)

  4. I’m sitting down to watch a Pooh movie, my mom just shared this with me. This summer I read The House at Pooh Corner and I’m still enjoying Pooh as a third grader. Thanks for this information. I didn’t know there was a real Hundred Acre Wood!

    • That’s so neat that you were watching a movie about Winnie-the-Pooh and your mom shared this Wonder about Winnie-the-Pooh with you! We LOVE to hear about families exploring the Wonders of the Day and learning together! :-)

  5. I love Winnie the Pooh. He’s my favorite Disney character! I went to Disney World this summer, had my picture taken with him, and I even got his autograph! It was really interesting to learn more about it! :D

    • Hello, Jamie! What a treat it must have been for you to meet Winnie-the-Pooh! We would give him a big hug if we could meet him! :-)

  6. I wonder where the original characters of Christopher Robin are? I know, but wanted to see if Wonderopolis would take it as a suggestion? Pooh and several of his friends live here in the USA!

  7. I should have added, like how the characters of Christopher’s favorite stuffed animals came to live in the USA when they were originally from England… hmmm.

    • That’s a GREAT thing to WONDER about, Roscoe! As Pooh would say, we’ll all have to “think, think, think” about it some more and do some more WONDERing to find out where all Christopher Robin’s stuffed animals “live” now and why they live there! No matter where they all live now, we think it would be FUN to visit them, don’t you? Thank you for your comment! :-)

  8. I love Winnie The Pooh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I used to have a stuffed Winnie The Pooh and my sister has a stuffed Tigger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It’s just like Christopher Robin Milne!!!!!!!!!
    And we love to pretend that our stuffed animals are alive when we get bored!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And remember… ORIGAMI AND NINJAS ROCK!!!!!!

    • We love your enthusiasm for this Wonder of the Day®, Cassie! Thank you for sharing how much you and your sister enjoy Winnie-the-Pooh (and origami and ninjas)! :-)

    • We haven’t met too many Wonder Friends who didn’t love Winnie-The-Pooh, Michele! You are in GREAT company! Thanks so much for visiting Wonderopolis and for leaving us this comment! There is no age limit to WONDER! :-)

    • Your comment makes us smile, Zion! We’re always happy to hear when our Wonder Friends like a Wonder of the Day®! We hope you learned some really neat stuff about the Hundred Acre Wood! :-)

  9. WOW! I used to love Winnie the Pooh (and I still do!)! I was just in a play about Winnie the Pooh! House on Pooh Corner. I was Kanga, since I was the oldest and tallest person there. :)

    • We bet you made an AMAZING Kanga, Annie! Thanks so much for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Where is the Hundred Acre Wood?
  • How did Winnie-the-Pooh get his name?
  • What were the characters in Winnie-the-Pooh based on?

Wonder Gallery

children looking into woods_hutterstock_16531054Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Do you have a favorite Winnie-the-Pooh story? If you want, take a trip back to the Hundred Acre Wood to remind yourself just how magical Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner really are. You can read a few Winnie-the-Pooh stories online.

Using Winnie-the-Pooh as inspiration, try your hand at writing your own short story about a couple of characters based on your own favorite stuffed animals. You can even create a fictional setting based on your backyard or a favorite place you like to go with your friends or family.

Maybe your story will feature a beaver and an otter who live next door to each other on the banks of a small creek. Or maybe your story will be about an inchworm and a butterfly who go on a grand adventure to see the ocean for the first time.

Your imagination is your only limit. When you’re finished, email us a copy of your story. We’d love to read it. If you can add some fun illustrations, we’d love to see those, too!

 

Still Wondering

Use EDSITEment’s Mapping Our Worlds lesson to help children make the shift to viewing the world around them in a two-dimensional format.

 

Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day will make you jump into the air with your hands held high!

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