Winnie the Pooh sequel author shares ‘trepidation’ in introducing new character

‘Winnie-the-Pooh: Tales from the Forest’ is the latest authorised sequel to AA Milne’s books

Isobel Lewis
Thursday 21 September 2023 09:58 BST
'Last-ever' Winnie the Pooh illustration discovered wrapped in tea towel

Winnie the Pooh is to receive a new animal companion in a forthcoming official sequel.

Created by AA Milne, teddy bear Winnie the Pooh featured in a series of much-loved children’s books and poems in the 1920s. The stories, which follow the adventures of Pooh along with his friends Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore and Tigger in their home, the Hundred Acre Wood, were first adapted for the screen in the 1960s.

A number of authorised sequels have been released following the death of Milne in 1956. The latest is Winnie-the-Pooh: Tales from the Forest, written by Jane Riordan and due for release on 28 September from Harper Collins.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Riordan explained that she had approached the sequel “with some trepidation”, but had decided to come up with a “new friend” for the animals of the Hundred Acre Wood.

Riordan explained that she’d been inspired to create the character after reading a 1966 interview Milne’s wife Daphne. In the piece, Daphne “reminisced about Milne taking a small toy dog called Carmen with him when he served in the First World War”.

“I immediately knew there was space in the Forest for a new female character, Kanga being the only one in the original stories,” Riordan wrote.

“Carmen, in my mind, would be a very brave little dog: she had, after all, sat in Milne’s pocket at the front, and when he was hospitalised with trench fever. To mark her bravery, I had the idea of this dog longing to be a lion – which is why she doesn’t bark… she roars.”

Christopher Robin meets Carmen in ‘Winnie The Pooh: Tales From The Forest’

She continued: “After all those years, first in Milne’s pocket then forgotten, we feel Carmen has earned her right to enjoy the simple pleasures of the Forest, just like the very first people who bought the Winnie-the-Pooh stories a century ago, wanting to escape from memories of war.

“The Hundred Acre Wood was, and still is, a safe place, far away from adult life – a place where you never need to grow up. In the words of Milne: ‘But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.’ And, if you listen carefully, you might hear the roars of a little dog.”

Tales from the Forest has been written by Riordan in the style of Milne’s writing. The illustrations are Mark Burgess and take inspiration from Milne’s original illustrator EH Shepard.

It will see the characters on adventures in places such as Poohsticks Bridge and Eeyore’s Gloomy Place, as well as real-world locations including the British Museum and the Tower of London.

Riordan has previously written about Pooh in Winnie The Pooh: Once There Was A Bear – Timeless Tales Inspired By Milne’s Classic Stories About The Nation’s Favourite Bear, as well as Winnie The Pooh Meets the Queen, and the recently published Winnie The Pooh Meets The King to celebratd the coronation.

Winnie-the-Pooh: Tales from the Forest is released on Thursday 28 September.

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