Christopher Robin's Toys

Christopher Robin Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh, is not the bear from which Ernest Shepard made his original illustration. That honor goes to Growler, the teddy bear which belonged to the artist's son, Graham. Shepard called it "a magnificent bear." Growler was passed on to Graham's daughter, Minett (now Hunt), but perished during wartime exile in Canada, there worried to death by a dog.

The bear, originally called Edward Bear and sometimes called Saunders, was renamed Winnie after a brown bear in the London Zoo called Winnie. She had been the mascot of a Canadian regiment in the First World War. The name Pooh has been attributed to a swan's name by some or to an expression made by Christopher Milne after his mother Daphne told the story of his meeting with the bear Winnie in the London Zoo.

Eeyore, like Pooh was an original present. Piglet was a present from a neighbor who lived over the way, a present for the small boy she so often used to meet out walking with his nanny. Kanga, Roo, and Tigger were added later. They were gifts from Christopher's parents, Alan Alexander and Daphne. They were carefully choosen not just for the delight they might give to their new owner, but also for their literary possibilities.

A. A. Milne has said that the animals, Pooh and Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga and the rest were not created by him. Christopher Robin Milne and his mother Daphne played with them and gave them life, and I just put them into a book. Between us we have given them shape, but you have only to look at them to see, as I saw at once, that Pooh is a Bear of Very Little Brain, Tigger Bouncy, Eeyore Melancholy and so on. I have exploited them for my own profit, as I feel I have not exploited the legal Christopher Robin. All I have got from Christopher Robin is a name which he never uses, an introduction to his friends ...
and a gleam which I have tried to follow.

In the last chapter of A House At Pooh Corner the Story ended. Christopher Robin went on to become a schoolboy. His father felt that the legal Christopher Robin has already had more publicity than he wanted for him. Moreover, since he was growing up, he would soon feel that he has had more publicity than he wants for himself. We all, young and old, hope to make some sort of a name, but we want to make it in our own chosen way, and, if possible, by our own exertions.

A child and his bear remain playing in the enchanted spot at the top of the forest. The toys are left behind, no longer wanted, in the nursery. So a glass case was made for them and it was fastened to the nursery wall and they climbed inside. And there they lived, sometimes glanced at, mostly forgotten, until the war came. Roe was missing. He had been lost years before. in an apple orchard. And Piglet's face was a funny shape where a dog had bitten him.
Is you saw them today, your immediate reaction would be: "How old and battered and lifeless they look." But of course they are old and battered and lifeless. They are only toys and you are mistaking them for the real animals who lived in the forest. Even in their prime they were no more than a first rough sketch, the merest hint of what they were to become, and they are now long past their prime. Eeyore is the most recognizable; Piglet the least.

During the war they went to America and there they have been ever since.. In 1987, the original Pooh Bear, along with Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet, and Kanga, were donated to the Donnell Branch of The New York Public Library. The toys are on display in a special climate - controlled case in the Central Children's Room.

Christopher Milne when asked "Aren't you sad that the animals are not in their glass case with you today?" answer "Not really," and hope that this doesn't seem too unkind. I like to have around me the things I like today, not the things I once liked many years ago. don't want a house to be a museum.... Every child has his Pooh, but one would think it odd if every man still kept his Pooh to remind him of his childhood. But my Pooh is different, you say: he is the Pooh. No, this only makes him different to you, not different to me. My toys were and are to me no more than yours were and are to you. I do not love them more because they are known to children in Australia or Japan. Fame has nothing to do with love. I wouldn't like a glass case that said: "Here is fame"; and I don't need a glass case to remind me: "Here was love."