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The Life and Times of the Real Winnie-the-Pooh (Hardback)

The Bear Who inspired A.A.Milne

P&S History > Literary Figures

By Shirley Harrison
Imprint: Remember When
Pages: 160
ISBN: 9781844680788
Published: 4th July 2011



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To celebrate his birthday this is the first, fascinating, biography of the real teddy bear which was the inspiration for A,A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh. It takes us from his ‘birth’ in an Acton toy factory in 1921, to Harrods where he was bought by Mrs Daphne Milne for her baby son, Christopher Robin, and from there to the family’s home in Chelsea and at weekends and holidays down to the farmhouse on Ashdown Forest, Sussex. It was here that A.A.Milne wrote his world-famous books, and from here that Pooh eventually emigrated to America, spending many years as a celebrity on tour. Today, he lives in retirement in New York Children’s Library with Tigger, Eeyore, Kanga and Piglet.

Containing much original material, friends of the Milne family and Pooh’s Guardians in the United States, tell their stories and share their previously unpublished photos and diaries, including, too, the author’s own remembrance of the day in l976, when Winnie-the-Pooh journeyed home to Hartfield for a holiday - and played Pooh Stick on Pooh Sticks Bridge..

A truly heart-warming tale of a cuddly teddy bear, loved by Christopher Robin, and ultimately transformed into one of the world’s richest and most famous bears of all time.

Everyone knows Winnie the Pooh, of course, but how many of you know the origins of the original stuffed toy that was adored by Christopher Robin and that inspired A A Milne to write those universally-loved and now world-famous stories in the first place? Shirley Harrison's book is the first non-fiction "biography" I have been unable to put down in all my years of reviewing books. It isn't just the tale of a stuffed bear - it's a slice of social history peppered with anecdotes and amazing, jaw-dropping facts about the circumstances that came together to create a moment in time that changed the world - the literary world at least - forever. Pooh came from Harrods, and Shirley digresses for a while to uncover some staggering facts about the greatest department store in the world. Pooh wasn't always called Pooh, in fact he was first called Edward Bear, or simply Bear, and again Shirley digresses to describe the times when Theodore Roosevelt came to be involved with the naming of the little bear stuffed toys that would dominate children's childhoods and adults' obsession with these charming and fabulous soft toys. Our house is full of teddy bears - bears the children had, bears we've bought from charity shops to be "killed" by our border collies, Skipper and Holly. On the occasion of Skipper's birthday each year, we buy him a teddy bear. Pooh wasn't the first such soft toy, but he certainly inspired the growth of the craze to epidemic proportions. Shirley reveals early in the book that Winnie the Pooh (Walt Disney removed the hyphens) is Disney's hottest property and that Winnie, or Pooh, is richer than the Queen. I don't recall ever reading Winnie the Pooh or having had it read to me as a child; I discovered Pooh when our two younger children were growing up - my brother-in-law (recently deceased) bought them hardback versions of the two main books, and my job was to read them to the children at bedtime. I now have a complete Winnie the Pooh which I treasure and am always happy to read for my own pleasure. Shirley's book is utterly charming and superb, tinged with sadness because, as most of us know, Christopher Robin's adolescent and adult years were plagued by Pooh; and because the original stuffed toy that belonged to him isn't in Hartfield, or even in Britain - it's in the children's library in New York. But the book is a brilliant revelation of a very special family, of a very special lilterary heritage, and of the times in which Pooh was born and lived, and made an important mark on children and adults, that massive army of arctophiles that revere Winnie the Pooh and everything about him. This is a biography that you simply must read!

Books Monthly

As featured in.

Hartfield History Group

An author with a life-long love affair with Winnie the Pooh has written a book all about the history of the loveable bear.

Shirley Harrison said “my book tells the story of Pooh from when he was first manufactured, how he ended up being bought from Harrods and given to Christopher Robin, right up until today, where he lives in America.”

Eastbourne Gazette

At the outbreak of World War II, just before he left to join the army, Shirley Harrison's father gave her a set of four books by A.A.Milne. Little did she know that later she would write a book about the bear itself and answer the mystery of A.AMilnes last resting place. Here she tells her story.

Sussex Life

Anyone under the age of,say 40, might be surprised to learn that Disney's Winnie-the=Pooh with his New England accent redolent of Lloyd Grossman is, of course, a real teddy bear and British through and through. Shirley Harrison who in the 60s lived in the same Sussex village as the late A.A.Milne, Pooh's creator has traced Pooh's life from his manufacture and his purchase in Harrods, through his ten year career as one of Christopher Milne's special toys, and on to his long retirement, oddly enough in the USA.

Best of British

Story about how Shirley solved the Ashes Puzzle: “The mystery surrounding what happened to the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh after he died has been solved.”

Brighton Argus

Mention the name Winnie The Pooh and we tend to visualize the bear that has been shared in movies around the world by The Walt Disney Company.

But there is much more to our good friend as you will discover when you read the delightful new book by British author Shirley Harrison.

The author is well suited to share previously unpublished information and photographs about the history of the original bear, the author A.A. Milne, Christopher Robin, his mother, the family Nanny and the profound effect (both good and bad) the people and Pooh and friends had on each other.

This book really belongs on the shelves of all teddy bear lovers, let alone those who are dedicated to the world famous Winnie the Pooh and friends.

Bears and Buds

Winnie-the-Pooh author AA Milne’s final resting place has been revealed – 55 years after his death at 74.

His ashes were scattered anonymously at The Downs Crematorium in Brighton, not far from his Hartfield home, but there was no plaque.

Pooh’s biographer Shirley Harrison said: “He had an odd death considering his fame.”

The Mirror
Perfect Partner

The Extraordinary Life of A A Milne (ePub)

VERY few authors can ever dream of coming close to the legacy left by A A Milne. He remains a household name in almost every corner of the globe thanks to a phenomenally popular collection of whimsical children’s stories about a boy named Christopher Robin and his beloved teddy bear. Generations of children have grown up loving the tales of Winnie The Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood, which are still among the most popular – and profitable - fictional characters in the world. But while the adorable poems and stories have brought unparalleled joy to millions, Alan Alexander Milne,…

By Nadia Cohen

Click here to buy both titles for £23.98
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