Book News & Features

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Ninety years ago this month, Alan Alexander Milne published a short poem called "Teddy Bear" in "Punch," a famous British humor magazine. That teddy bear went on to become perhaps the most famous in the world: Winnie-the-Pooh. Before he was a book of stories for children, Winnie-the-Pooh was a real stuffed bear, beloved by A.A. Milne's young son, Christopher. In 1929, the Dominion Gramophone Co. recorded A.A. Milne reading from his book of children's verse, "When We Were Very Young." [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The reading was actually a story that appeared as the third chapter of Milne's volume of stories called "Winnie-the-Pooh." ]

Here, he reads from the chapter, "In Which Pooh and Piglet Go Hunting and Nearly Catch a Woozle."

ALAN ALEXANDER MILNE: (Reading) One fine winter's day, when Piglet was brushing away the snow in front of his house, he happened to look up and there was Winnie-the-Pooh. Pooh was walking around and round in a circle, thinking of something else. And when Piglet called him, he just went on walking. Hello, said Piglet. What are you doing? Hunting, said Pooh. Hunting what? Tracking something, said Pooh. Tracking what? said Piglet, coming closer. That's just what I asked myself. I asked myself, what?

(Reading) What do you think you will answer? I shall have to wait until I catch up with it, said Pooh. Now, look there. He pointed to the ground in front of him. What do you see there? Tracks, said Piglet. Paw marks. He gave a little squeak of excitement. Oh, Pooh, do you think it's a, a, a woozle? It may be, said Pooh. Sometimes it is and sometimes, it isn't. You never can tell with paw marks.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: A.A. Milne in 1929, reading from "When We Were Very Young."

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