If your travels take your family through New York City anytime soon, do yourself and your kids a favor by checking out the original Winnie the Pooh that is on display at the library. When I first learned that the real Winnie the Pooh could be seen in the New York Public Library, I did not even have children. Still, as a fan of the A.A. Milne stories, this did not deter me from going to see the fuzzy celebrity for myself, and I am so glad I did.
It was a bit shocking at first to see the original toys, as Disney seems to have put an indelible mark on their look. Note to parents: it might throw your little ones off too. However, I like to think its an opportunity to teach children about inspiration and that many great ideas come from books. Its also an opportunity to show kids the type of toys their great, and great great grandparents might have played with. Plus, seeing the original Pooh is not only neat, ITS ABSOLUTELY FREE!
Milne’s son’s name was (you guessed it) Christopher Robin Milne, and the books were written for him in England in the 1920s. After they shot to fame, Disney picked up the rights for an (at the time) contemporary retelling of the story, and the modern idea of Pooh (in the red shirt) was born.
There are two actually. The first controversy is over the rights to the Pooh franchise. I won’t go into it here, but it was between Disney and the Milne estate. If you’d like to learn more, check out this article. Seemingly in the past few years the two parties have worked something out, but I know it got ugly there for a while.
The second controversy is that the original Pooh and friends are in the New York Public Library, and not in England. You see, as beloved as they are here, they are a national treasure across the pond. So when British Labour MP, Gwyneth Dunwood, spotted them in NYC, she began a campaign to get them back to the UK. She even enlisted then Prime Minister, Tony Blair! Here is the British side of the of the story.
Despite her efforts, the original Pooh, Tigger and their pals can still be seen in a case in a New York Public Library branch in midtown. It’s free, and pretty cool for parents and kids to see alike! So if you find yourself in NYC this holiday, why not check it out? For library hours and address visit the official New York Public Library website.