2016 marks the 90th year since the first Winnie the Pooh publication and there is a great deal more to celebrate than just the original Milne stories. A new set of stories, penned by four different authors, is being published to mark the occasion.
The book, entitled The Best Bear in All the World (which is what Christopher Robin calls Pooh Bear), is due to be published by Egmont Publishing on Oct 6th and looks quite good. I have ordered my copy and I am (im)patiently waiting for my delivery, but until such time I am a little excited about this. I’m always a little unsure about new stories of Pooh, but unlike the movies or TV shows that change things around I feel the authorised books stay as true as they can to Milne’s original pieces and illustrator Mark Burgess’ drawings are styled very much like Shepard’s originals.
In this new addition, the focus in on the four seasons, with a tale to match each one by the authors: Paul Bright, Kate Saunders, Jeanne Willis and Brian Sibley. What makes this extra special is that in one of these tales a new character is being introduced to the 100 Acre Woods. Sibley has created a new character Penguin based on a photo he saw of Christopher Robin with a toy penguin. This penguin was also bought at Harrods like all of the toys and Sibley has brought his story to life in his winter tale.
There is a thought from the archivists at Harrods that the penguin in question was possibly Squeak, one of the many popular penguin toys of the early 20th century and based off of the popular cartoon strip Pip, Squeak, and Wilfred.
For those with any concerns over a penguin being in the 100 Acre Wood I think Sibley sums it up well when he said, “The thought of Pooh encountering a penguin seemed no more outlandish than his meeting a kangaroo and a tiger in a Sussex wood, so I started thinking about what might have happened if, on a rather snowy day, Penguin had found his way to Pooh Corner.” Not to mention the fact that since Christopher Robin had the toy, like he did with the others, then this is a great way to bring in a new character.
No doubt when my copy arrives I will be posting pictures of its prettiness. Just seeing a few of Burgess’ illustrations is making me all warm inside. There is also another special Pooh story that was created specifically for the 90th anniversary, this one coincides with the Queen’s 90th birthday but I will have more on that tomorrow.