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Winnie & Co, stories of a teddy bear like that

Winnie the Pooh first appeared in children's literature shortly after the First World War, and was created by British author Alan Alexander Mine in 1926. The teddy bear comes to life and has adventures in a childlike and gentle world, in the company of his friends Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore, not forgetting the boy Jean-Christophe.

Haphazard translations of Winnie the Pooh

Originating in English literature, the name Winnie was inspired by a bear at London Zoo, named Winnipeg, after the Canadian city. Winnipeg is the birthplace of Captain Coleboum, who brought the bear back to the zoo.

Alan Alexander Mine was looking for a character to write stories about animated toys. He got the idea from watching his own child, Christopher, play with his stuffed animals. So he created Winnie the Pooh, also known as Pooh Bear, and it was British illustrator Ernest Howard Shepard who gave him form in the drawing.

In 1946, the animated teddy bear arrived in France, thanks to a translation by Jacques Papy, in a story entitled "Histoire d'un ours comme ça". But he wasn't quite sure what to make of the protagonist's name, so he simply called him "Winnie-the-Pooh". It wasn't a great success, as the name sounded like lice, and many French speakers tended to pronounce it "vinnie". In 1962, another attempt was made to translate the name: "Plic-en-Peluche". The name was also translated as "L'Ours Martin", to make it more French.

In the end, Winnie the Pooh won over a public that was increasingly used to English names, knew how to pronounce "ouinnie", and naturally accepted the bear cub.

Meet Winnie and his friends in the forest of blue dreams

The bear may be the world's largest predator, but the cub is still considered a symbol of cuteness and gentleness. So Winnie the Pooh had no trouble being accepted as a kind-hearted, greedy and not very clever character.

He and his friends live in the Forest of Blue Dreams, which stands for "Hundred Acre Wood" (literally, the Wood of 100 acres, an area of around 40 hectares). It is in fact a fictional version of Ashdown Forest, south of London, which the author visited regularly with his son.

Interestingly, the Hundred Acre Wood was originally just a part of the forest around Master Owl's house, but the name was extended to the whole area by the Disney adaptations.

The animated bear comes to life on screens

Although Winnie and co. are best known to Western audiences through the adaptations made by the Walt Disney studios, it was in the Soviet Union that Winnie took his first animated steps in a feature film. He was particularly popular in the USSR, no doubt in reference to the Russian bear. So much so that a street in Warsaw even bears his name, Ulica Kubusia Puchatka, or "Winnie the Pooh Street".

In the West, the first animated film, "The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh", was released in 1977. It was actually a compilation of four pre-existing short films, each focusing on one of the characters in the franchise: the first on Winnie and his greed, the second on Piglet, the third on the indefatigable Tigger and the fourth on Eeyore's birthday.

Numerous adaptations followed from the 1980s onwards: animated feature films, animated TV series, TV series with puppets, TV series with computer-generated images... and even a live-action film with computer-generated images, "Jean-Christophe et Winnie", released in 2018. These adaptations became so popular that Winnie the Pooh is now as much a Disney icon as Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend Minnie.

In this latest film, Jean-Christophe (Christopher Robin) has grown up and forgotten all about his old toys... until they decide to remind him. Ewan McGregor plays the grown-up boy, while Jim Cunnings lends his voice to Winnie.

A host of merchandising products at ShopForGeek

At Shop for Geek, if our characters don't have a soul, they're sure to delight your child's heart: Winnie & Co figurines, posters, franchise clothing and other accessories. So don't delay in discovering our wide range of personalised Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger products, available at competitive prices. Whether you're looking for a Winnie the Pooh cuddly toy or a nursery decoration, you'll find everything your heart desires to return to childhood and pass on your old passions to your offspring. Make your next gift a unique experience with Shop for Geek.