In Which A. A. Milne Falls Into a Bear Trap
On this day in 1926, A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh was first published by Methuen Publishing in London. Milne had been an accomplished playwright, essayist, poet, and humorist before he conjured up a collection of children’s stories based on his young son, Christopher Robin, and the boy’s cadre of stuffed animals.
Pooh and the gang were such an enormous success in Britain and America that they launched a multi-million dollar franchise by the early 1930s. Milne, dutiful tortured artist that he was, grew to resent being pigeonholed as a children’s author, and he had good reason to. By the late 1930s, he was pretty much unmarketable as a serious author or playwright, with audiences for his adult works having all but lost interest in him. (Pay attention, J. K.)
As for his son, Christopher Robin Milne also grew to hate being associated with his father’s ubiquitous Poohniverse, saying later in life that he believed his father had exploited his childhood.
Nevertheless, Christopher’s original stuffed animals that inspired the Winnie -the-Pooh characters are still alive and well and on display at the main branch of the New York Public Library.
Moral of the story: It’s possible to die with the most toys and still not win.