This weekend marks the 90th anniversary of the very first Winnie the Pooh book by A.A. Milne. A character that started in beautifully illustrated books, which then went on to be animated as one of Disney’s most beloved characters, and solidified in our hearts as a significant part of our childhoods. There have been various celebrations and offerings to commemorate this special birthday, including a new penguin character in a new book, a story in which Pooh meets the queen, as well as the fact that a film about A.A. Milne’s life starring Domnhall Gleeson is currently in the works. However, here at The Edge, we decided to stick with the simple, and just reflect on our fondest memories of our favourite ‘chubby little tubby all stuffed with fluff’.
Pooh Sticks is quite possibly one of my favourite games in the world. It reminds me of childhood, but also of endless holidays, and so many walks that have been had in different forests over the years. For people who are somehow unfamiliar with the game, the premise is simple: everyone in the game chooses a stick and throws it in the river on one side of a bridge, and the owner of the stick that emerges from the other side of the bridge first is the winner. It’s amazing that something so simple can provide so many happy memories, and so much fun. It’s also surprising how competitive you get, and how it becomes a real game of skill as you pick a stick with the perfect attributes to float through first. It has become so ingrained in me, that every single time that I walk over a bridge, I feel compelled to choose a stick and play; I even had a recent game in Valley Gardens on campus… Many bridges I have crossed, from the Lake District, to Scotland, to Cornwall, to the New Forest, have had this game played on them, and this brings back so many fond memories. Thanks Pooh, for you and your sticks have made walks across bridges extremely satisfying.
words by Rehana Nurmahi
A.A. Milne’s poetry
My best memory is not actually from the books at all, but A. A. Milne’s slightly lesser known poetry, When We Were Young and Now We Are Six. Technically speaking 92 years old and 89 years old respectively, these two collections of poetry are inextricably linked with Pooh and his world, and provide beautiful companions to the short stories. Although featuring a cast much larger than Pooh, Piglet and the rest of the gang, from a bad King John to a have-you-been-a-good-girl Jane, Pooh and Christopher Robin are regulars too. A naughty Christopher Robin bunged up with wheezles and sneezles challenges the innocence and loyalty of his sweet and tubby teddy bear, who could never be afraid with his human friend by his side. The poetry is nostalgic, cute and more than a bit clever, as large and diverse as Pooh’s honey pot collection.
words by Tash Williamson
Innocence and joy of childhood
For me, Winnie the Pooh represents the innocence and joy of my childhood, its a quintessential representation (perhaps alongside Scooby Doo) of the power and value of childhood literature. Milne is not only an author but an artist, with how he crafts the characters to appeal on a range of levels and carry a range of morals, from the bumbling Pooh bear, the tentative Piglet, fun-loving Tigger and bossy Rabbit. For me this also extends to the movies which I loved as a child, I still remember watching (and re-watching) Pooh’s Grand Adventure, and following their story and travels. Who knows how Milne managed it so well, but we now still all have an emotional connection to that bear, and I’m sure we’ll never forget it. Winnie the Pooh will always stay epitomising childhood innocence now lost but poignantly cherished.
words by Bruno Russell
As a child, Tigger was my absolute favourite Winnie the Pooh character. Maybe it was because The Tigger Movie was amazing, or just because my Mum would always sing the Tigger song to calm my brother and I down when we were sad (most likely the latter). Either way, that Tiger makes me endlessly happy. Jim Cummings’ iconic voice is now endlessly soothing and satisfying whenever I hear it not just as Tigger, but also whenever it appears in other random Disney movies (“That’s it. I’m moving to Sparta!”). As well as this, the character brings back a sense of nostalgia for junior school. I had a Tigger satchel, which was part of a super cool Winnie the Pooh range at Argos, and I also had the accompanying drawstring bag, lunchbox and pencil case. At an age where you’ve just upgraded from the Bookbag stage, and you want to use your stuff to reflect who you are- Tigger was the thing that reflected me. Before life got in the way and I became a cynical teenager, childhood me loved jumping up and down, and talking endlessly- though that’s not changed- and these are traits that will forever be Tigger traits in my mind.
words by Rehana Nurmahi
chosen by Anneka Honeyball