Winnie the Pooh—the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

You can’t think of the famous author A.A. Milne without associating him with his sweet, much-loved bear, Pooh—and Milne hated that association. But, let’s start at the beginning:

First the good. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories happened because of Milne’s love for his son, Christopher Robin. Christopher became a character in his father’s children’s books as did Christopher’s stuffed animals: a bear, a piglet, a tiger, a kangaroo and a downtrodden donkey. Milne chose a forest near their home as the setting for his stories, and “The Hundred Acre Wood” became the enchanted forest in the Pooh books, Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928). Milne’s books became wildly successful and brought fame to the otherwise unrecognized author.

Now the bad. Milne hated being cast as a children’s book author. He had written three novels, four screenplays, and 18 plays for adults, all forgotten due to the success of Winnie the Pooh. “A writer wants something more than money for his work: he wants permanence” Milne said, and for him that meant a legacy as a great novelist or playwright.

And here the story becomes downright ugly. As an adult, the real Christopher Robin Milne resented being a character in his father’s books. In his autobiography, Christopher wrote, “(My father) had filched from me my good name and had left me with nothing but the empty fame of being his son.”

During A.A. Milne’s final years, Christopher rarely saw his father. The elder Milne suffered a stroke in 1952 and was confined to a wheelchair for four years until his death just days after his 74th birthday.

The Winnie the Pooh books continue to bring joy to children throughout the world, but few know the sad story of their author and his son, the real Christopher Robin.

If you want to read more about the real Christopher Robin and how his story ends, click on this link: “Christopher Robin Milne”.

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