Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Original Winnie The Pooh

Winnie The Pooh and friends at the New York Public Library

Winnie the Pooh Bear is one of our favorite toy characters in our home. I love Winnie and so does my daughter. We often have Winnie themed bed linen, clothes and wall decorations when she was a toddler. When we ventured to Disney World in Orlando, we often tried to get pictures taken with Winnie the Pooh.

The stories of Winnie The Pooh and and the Disney movie character were based on an actual toy bear given to Christopher Robin, the son of English author, Alexander Alan Milne (A.A. Milne). The bear was purchased in the early 1920's from Harrods, the London department store and given to Christopher Robin on his first birthday.  The bear first appeared as "Teddy Bear" in A.A. Milne's book of  poem "When We Were Very Young".

The success of  "When We Were Very Young" lead to the bear being featured in the eponymous book,  "Winnie-The-Pooh". The other toys of Christoper Robin were also presented in the book. These toy characters formed the basis of  the delightful collection of children stories known as Pooh Library.

In 1947, the toy bear and the other stuffed toys were brought  over to U.S. to help the publishers promote A.A.Milne's latest publications. For years, the publishers were the caretakers of these toys until 1987 when they were donated to the New York Public Library. They are now housed in their permanent home in the Children's Library section.

It was with great anticipation that my daughter and I visited the Children's Library recently to check out Winnie the Pooh.  Right behind the checkout desk, the iconic toys have been placed in a glass case in an open room walled with Hundred Acre Wood themed murals.  In addition to the original Winnie The Pooh, we also saw the original Tigger, Eeyore, Kanga, Piglet and Lottie the otter. Baby kangaroo Roo has been missing in action for a long time.

Kanga, Lottie the Otter, Tigger, Winnie, Piglet and Eeyore. 

Pooh is a brown nondescript looking toy unlike the Disney version. He reminded me very much of my childhood toy bear. The fact that Pooh has become such a well-beloved icon behold the timeless classic and beauty of A.A. Milne's heart tugging stories about simpler and more innocent days.

Winnie The Pooh And Hundred Acre Wood Mural

For the short while we were there, the iconic toys received a constant stream of visitors (mostly adults) proving how popular and beloved they are across the passage of time. Perhaps Pooh and friends rekindle a spark of the inner child within some of us that day.

New York Public Library On 42nd Street and 5th Avenue

New York Public Library entrance lobby

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