January 18 is Winnie the Pooh day, corresponding with the birthday of the bears creator, Alan A. Milne. While some may think that reporting on the life of a friendly, fictional bear is unnecessary in a campus newspaper, I believe that it indicates a maturity to treasure our collective childhood, or a slow news day.
Milne was born in 1882 in London. He started his writing career studying mathematics in Cambridge, where he submitted stories to the student magazine Granta, now one of the most respected literary magazines in the English-speaking world, and later the humor magazine Punch.
Milne originally crafted the Pooh stories for his son, Christopher Robin, never having written childrens fiction before. The name Winnie comes from a Canadian black bear named after Winnipeg, a mascot for the war effort in the First World War. Winnie the Pooh was published in 1926, and The House at Pooh Corner in 1928. Disney purchased the right to Winnie the Pooh in 1966, and produced Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree. The 20-minute featurette, besides being Winnies first foray into animation, was also the first time he appeared in his now signature red shirt.
Milnes stories have touched something timeless. Aside from television shows, featurettes and plays, Disney has made nine Winnie the Pooh films from 1977 to 2005 and aims to release a new one in 2011.
Children arent the only ones who find the bear fascinating either; Benjamin Hoffs book The Dao of Pooh contemplates Winnie as a model of the calm, joyful and balanced state we should all aspire to. In any case, Winnie and his friends, cultural landmarks that they are, dont seem to be fading anywhere fast, and odds are that most of us who enjoyed journeying into the Hundred Acre Wood will be heading back in fifteen years or so, to find Winnie and friends unchanged.