May 18, 2023

#08-311: Winnie-the-Pooh

Edward Bear is bumping down the stairs
on the back of his head... (Gutenberg)

Note: Winnie-the-Pooh--whose prototype lives today at the New York Public Library--is probably the world's most famous stuffed toy. Let's learn more about him.

Get Ready: Did you have a favorite toy (or other oject, like a blanket) that you dragged around when you were a kid?

When we first see Winnie-the-Pooh (in the book of the same name) he is bumping downstairs on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. He doesn't know any other way to come down, but he's sure there is one, if only he could stop bumping long enough to think of it.

And so we meet one of the most beloved characters in literature. Although he's best known these days through Disney films, Winnie-the-Pooh--whose real name is Edward Bear, though he lives in a forest under the name of Sanders--began life as the main character in a children's story on Christmas Eve in 1925, and in a children's book the following year.

The author, A. A. Milne, based the bear on a "real" stuffed toy that belonged to his son, really named Christopher Robin. The adventures starred a nursery cast of characters, based on other toys, who besides that "silly old Bear" included tiny little Piglet, Pooh's very timid best friend; the gloomy donkey, Eeyore; stuffy, talkative Owl, who acts like a teacher; Rabbit, a practical sort; and kind-hearted, patient Kanga and her energetic son Roo (who are, of course, kangaroos).

In the adventures Pooh uses a balloon to try to get honey (Pooh spells it "HUNNY") from a tree; eats so much at Rabbit's house that he gets stuck in the door on the way out; hunts for imagined creatures like woozles and heffalumps; finds Eeyore's missing tail (referring to a popular children's game "Pin the Tail; on the Donkey"); and experiences a flood, a kidnapping, and an "expotition" to the North Pole.

The group of friends helps bring out Pooh's character. Piglet is timid, but Pooh is bold, getting himself into all kinds of fixes; Eeyore is gloomy, but Pooh is exuberantly cheerful; Owl is "wise" (sort of), but Pooh calls himself "a Bear of Very Little Brain" and says that "long words Bother me." (This is after Owl has said "customary procedure" and Pooh asks, "What does Crustimoney Proseedcake mean?") Rabbit is practical, Pooh is not; and Kanga and Roo are the only "family" in the book--Pooh seems to be a bachelor.

So these friends frolic through the Hundred Acre Wood and into another book, The House at Pooh Corner, and continue frolicking today.


Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. bachelor
  2. beloved
  3. customary procedure
  4. expotition
  5. exuberantly
  6. frolic
  7. gloomy
  8. nursery
  9. stuffy
  10. timid

  1. an unmarried man
  2. the usual way of doing something
  3. overly-serious
  4. dear to many
  5. shy; not brave
  6. romp; play in a lighthearted way
  7. enthusiastically
  8. a room for children to sleep and play
  9. sad; hopeless
  10. a child's way to say "expedition"

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for May 18, 2023

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. a; 2. d; 3. b; 4. j; 5. g; 6. f; 7. i; 8. h; 9. c; 10. e