Today would have been Alan Alexander Milne's 136th birthday. Better known as A. A. Milne and best known for his children's character the affable Winnie-the-Pooh, or Pooh for short, Milne was actually an accomplished writer of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, as well as plays and newspaper reports. He served in the British military in both World Wars.
Pooh made his first appearance in print in 1924 in the poem "Teddy Bear" in Punch magazine. This poem and many other poems for children were first published in book form later that same year in the collection pictured above, When We Were Very Young. As many of you may know Pooh was Milne's son's teddy bear and most of his friends - Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Tigger - were also young Christopher Robin Milne's stuffed toys.
Pooh's first prose adventures were published in 1926, eponymously. Milne only published two other children's books, one of poetry and one of prose, and he and his son both came to resent the continuing popularity of the stories. Despite this and possibly because the Disney corporation had a stake in the rights to the characters almost from the time of Milne's death, the books and the characters are enduring favorites in England and the United States.
When We Were Very Young is still in print and can be had for as little as $3.94, including shipping, online. A first edition, published by Methuen in London in 1924, can fetch hundreds of dollars.
Me as a critic (be careful! the harshness will be well concealed!)