Oh bother! Tuesday is Winnie The Pooh Day

Tuesday, Jan. 18, is Winnie The Pooh Day, the date chosen in honor of the birthday of author A. A. Milne.

The affable bear has been the hero of countless children's tales about him over the decades.

But many may not realize that the real-life bear who inspired Winnie The Pooh was actually a she. Here are fun facts you may not know about the beloved character.


The original Winnie was female



Lindsay Mattick's 2015 book "Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear" details the rich history of the female black bear cub named Winnie who would become the inspiration for the classic children's character.

During World War I, Mattick's great-grandfather and Canadian veterinarian Harry Coleburn purchased the American black bear cub, naming her "Winnie" after his home city of Winnipeg.

Winnie became a regiment mascot during Coleburn's months of battlefield training. When he was deployed to France, Coleburn realized he could no longer keep Winnie safe and brought her to the London Zoo, according to Mattick.

Visitors quickly saw that this bear was unusually gentle and kind -- qualities later reflected in Milne's writings

Christopher Robin Milne, a young visitor who forged a friendship with the bear, loved her so much that he re-christened his own teddy Winnie-the-Pooh. The boy's father, A.A. Milne, first published a story about a boy named Christopher Robin and his stuffed bear Winnie-the-Pooh in the London Evening News on Christmas Eve in 1925.

The name 'Pooh' comes from a swan


Young Christopher Robin named a swan "Pooh," A.A. Milne explained in his 1924 book "When We Were Very Young."

"This is a very fine name for a swan, because, if you call him and he doesn't come (which is a thing swans are good at), then you can pretend that you were just saying 'Pooh!' to show how little you wanted him," Milne wrote before the book.

The real-life Pooh would lend his name to a swan in that book and later to Winnie the Pooh.

You can visit (the stuffed bear) Winnie


For Winnie the Pooh super fans, it might be worth a trip to the main branch of the New York Public Library. Here you can see the toys that Christopher Robin played with that inspired Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet and Kanga. They are occasionally given professional conservation treatment.



The real Christopher Robin opened a bookstore


It may come as no surprise that Christopher Milne grew up to be a book lover himself. In 1951, he moved from London to southwest England to set up Harbour Bookshop, according to the BBC. He retired in 1983, and the shop closed in 2011.

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