THE STORY OF CHRISTOPHER ROBIN

Winnie

I’ve always loved the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. The Disney version is OK, but I really treasure the books with the pastel wash illustrations by EH Shepard. My son’s nursery had six of these prints which I still have and can’t manage to part with despite him graduating university. Why is that?

AA Milne became famous for a series of stories and poems about a little boy named Christopher Robin and his adventures with his animal friends in the Hundred Acre Wood.  Up until this point Milne had been known for his plays, but in 1926 he published Winnie-the-Pooh, and Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, and Tigger made their way into children’s literature and the hearts of millions on both sides of the pond.     

The character of Christopher Robin was based on Milne’s small son by the same name. When the real Christopher Robin was young, he helped his father work on the stories. The fictional Hundred Acre Woods was modeled on nearby Ashdown Forest where father and son would walk together. Young Christopher had a stuffed bear named Edward. The fictional story bear was named after a bear in the London Zoo he had seen called Winnie (the bear came from Winnipeg, Canada) and Pooh after a swan the boy also saw. There is a bridge in Ashdown Forest where it is alleged that the first game of Poohsticks was played. The bridge has become a tourist site and since 1984, the annual World Poohsticks’ Championship has been held at Day’s Lock on the Thames.

Unfortunately, Christopher Robin grew up to resent his father immortalizing his childhood in the stories and poems. Once he was off to boarding school, he was teased and his life made difficult by other boys. So much so, that he learned to box to defend himself. Christopher Milne served in WWII, graduated from Cambridge, and ran a bookshop for most of his life. He also wrote several books, one called The Enchanted Places examined his life as a child. The stuffed toys Christopher played with were given to an editor who donated them to the New York City Public Library where they can be seen today.

Trivia Question: AA Milne attended school and was taught by another famous writer. Who was that? Feel free to answer in the comments. (I’ll post the answer if no one gets it.)

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17 comments

  1. Bruce Goodman · September 2, 2015

    Well! Well! Well! I know well who his teach was!

    Like

  2. alanfaraway · September 2, 2015

    I’ve got a sneaky feeling his teacher’s name features is the nursery rhyme ‘Ding Dong Bell’. A bit cryptic I know but I don’t want to give the game away easily 😀. Like the post, and, like you, loved Winnie The Pooh, (still do as a matter of fact), I think Tigger is my favourite lol

    Like

    • ellisnelson · September 2, 2015

      I like Tigger too, but I’m more of an Eeyore. Did you know that psychologists have studied the Winnie-the -Pooh characters and evaluated them? Most have… issues.

      Like

      • alanfaraway · September 5, 2015

        Now that does not surprise me! Eeyore has a definite confidence issue, Tigger has the attention span of a gnat, Rabbit is just a tad OCD and Winnie has an eating disorder! I’m no psychiatrist you understand, and I’m sure if one looked at the characters from our childhood, it’s little wonder why we are so messed up lol. Take Andy Pandy for instance, that boy had a real problem with his sexuality, honestly, what boy would rather go to bed with Little Ted than climb in with a hot bird like Loopy Lou! 😀

        Like

      • gina drellack · April 28, 2016

        Oh, that’s funny!. Don’t we all…?!? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Susan Bernhardt · September 2, 2015

    H.G. Wells, but I think Bruce Goodman already knew that among others! Lol!

    We are big fans of Winnie the Pooh here as well.

    Like

  4. timtrue · September 3, 2015

    Sad about Christopher Robin resenting these books. A lesson to us writers maybe? Should we keep our own identifiable family members out of our stories, change their names to protect them, etc.?

    Like

    • ellisnelson · September 3, 2015

      Something to think about. I don’t write about family members, but certain characteristics or phrases do sneak in. So far, my grown kids seem amused. But what if JK had had a little boy named Henry and Harry Potter was really just Henry with wizarding powers?

      Like

      • timtrue · September 3, 2015

        I’m a huge fan of the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. Lucy Pevensie, one of the main characters in four of the books, is based on a real Lucy. I wonder, did/does she resent these books? Do you know?

        In the end it probably depends on the individual. Seems like it could be risky to me.

        Thanks for bringing up this question.

        Like

      • ellisnelson · September 3, 2015

        No idea. If you poke around on Google, I’ll bet you can find out.

        Like

  5. Belinda Crane · September 10, 2015

    I’ve always loved Winnie-the-Pooh. Great post.

    Like

  6. Glynis Jolly · September 11, 2015

    I wonder how Christopher Milne would feel if he knew that people were named after him. I have a cousin-in-law, born on Christmas and named Christopher Robin by his older brother.

    As a young child, I had Winnie the Pooh read to me every night for a while.

    Like

    • ellisnelson · September 11, 2015

      I’m sure he knew the impact of the stories. Maybe some part of him found comfort in that. He just had a tough childhood and blamed the books.

      Like

  7. Pingback: THE STORY OF CHRISTOPHER ROBIN – bookwormbeatblog
  8. bookwormchristi · April 27, 2016

    Reblogged this on bookwormbeatblog.

    Like

  9. gene · May 9, 2016

    Wonderful

    Like

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