The four children's books written by A.A. Milne were published at the end of a sixty year period of great children's literature produced in England. Among the works that came out of this period were:
This is but a small sampling of the amount of children's literature produced in this period.
Winnie-the-Pooh is arguably the most famous bear in the world. Winnie-the-Pooh has been translated into thirty-four languages: Afrikaans, Breton, Bulgarian, Castilian, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, Frisian, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbo-Croat, Slovak, Slovene, Swedish, Thai, Esperanto, and Latin. The Latin translation, Winnie ille Pu, made the New York Times Bestseller List in 1960, the first foreign language book to do so, and stayed on the list for twenty weeks.
Milne was often frustrated as his designation as a children's author. For several years, he wrote essays for Punch, and at one time was considered to be one of England's most successful playwrights. He was also the author of a successful mystery novel, The Red House Mystery. However, after the publication of his four children's books, the public demanded more of the same from him, and critics often judged his later writing against his children's writing.
The popularity of Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends gained a great deal in the 1960s. On June 16, 1961, Walt Disney purchased the film rights to the Pooh stories from Mrs. Daphne Milne. The first film, Winnie-the-Pooh and the Honey Tree, appeared in 1966 as a twenty-six minute short. E.H. Shepard, illustrator of the Pooh books, called the film 'a complete travesty', but Daphne Milne seemed pleased about the film. The general public review in America was high, but the British reaction was less than favorable. Disney had replaced the character of Piglet with a gopher, which they thought had a more "folksy, all-American, grass-roots image," according to the film's director, Wolfgang Reitherman. Outrage was also evident about the accent of the characters. Nearly all the characters had a Mid-West accent. Thanks to a crusade by British film critic Felix Barker, Disney consented to re-dub the part of Christopher Robin with a British accent, and Piglet appeared in the next film, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, and in subsequent films.
More and more, Pooh and his friends are existing apart from the original books. Disney, as mentioned above, bought the non-book rights of the characters in 1961, and along with their film shorts, have recently produced "The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh." This cartoon series had developed new characters, settings, and story lines apart from the original books. Another example of this is shown in Benjamin Hoff's books, The Tao of Pooh (1982) and The Te of Piglet (1992), when Hoff replaces Milne as the author/narrator and has discussions with these two characters.
Back to The Page at Pooh Corner.