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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > November 2016 > The curse of Winnie-the-Pooh

The curse of Winnie-the-Pooh

AA Milne grew to loathe his most famous creation, writes Lucinda Smyth

Best Bear in All the World

(Egmont, £14.99)

This October marks the 90th anniversary of the publication of AA Milne’s Winniethe-Pooh. To celebrate, and take financial advantage, the publisher Egmont has produced a sequel to the original series entitled Best Bear in All the World. Within its lavish gold covers, the Best Bear contains four new stories by Paul Bright, Brian Sibley, Kate Saunders and Jeanne Willis, with accompanying illustrations by Mark Burgess in the style of EH Shepard. A new character, Penguin, joins the usual suspects from the Hundred Acre Wood.

The collection follows on from a series of birthday celebrations for the loveable bear, including a new Disney cartoon film released in May, and an exhibition at the British Library, which features a map of the Hundred Acre Wood (see “What’s on this month” p78). Such attention has been far from unwelcome. Winnie-the-Pooh’s popularity reached fever pitch this year. In a July poll, he was voted the UK’s “best-loved children’s book character,” above Harry Potter and Bilbo Baggins. Later that month, it was reported that a Pooh-shaped cloud was spotted hovering over a children’s charity event in Dorset. In an interview with the Telegraph, the film star Jim Broadbent—the narrator of the Disney cartoon—said: “Without Winnie-the-Pooh, I wouldn’t be an actor.” He appeared to be speaking seriously.

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In Prospect’s November issue: Sam Tanenhaus argues Donald Trump is a consequence of the American government ignoring the people—and they’ll have to deal with his impact whether he wins or loses the presidential election. Diane Roberts explores the rage eating America by looking at the people that government has failed. Switching the focus to the UK, David Marquand and a quartet of commentators assess Labour’s position—with varying conclusions. Also in this issue: Matthew Qvortrup looks at the relationship between Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, two of Europe’s most important politicians whose lives have long been intertwined. Andy Burnham, Labour’s candidate for the mayor of Manchester, lays down the reasons why the northern powerhouse is so important and Prospect’s Arts and Books Editor Sameer Rahim reviews Zadie Smith’s latest novel.