A new character by the name of Penguin is joining Winnie-the-Pooh in the Hundred Acre Wood, Penguin Young Readers announced Monday.
Penguin will appear in The Best Bear in All the World, a new 90th anniversary sequel to Winnie-the-Pooh, in a story titled “Winter: in which Penguin arrives.”
Author Brian Sibley was inspired by an obscure photograph of A.A. Milne and his son Christopher Milne (aka Christopher Robin) playing with a penguin toy alongside the bear that would become Winnie-the-Pooh. Christoper’s mom Daphne Milne may have bought the toy at Harrod’s like the other toys that would inspired the series’ beloved characters. Harrods archivist Sebastian Wormell corroborates this theory in a release: “Harrods is famous as the original home of Winnie-the-Pooh, but the Toy Department where Mrs Milne bought the iconic bear hosted a huge array of stuffed animals,” he said. “In the early years of the 20th century, toy penguins soared in popularity as the exploits of Antarctic explorers such as Shackleton and Scott fascinated the public. We believe that the toy pictured could be ‘Squeak’, which originated in our 1922 catalogue and came from Pip, Squeak and Wilfred, a popular cartoon-strip. It’s exciting to think a new Harrods toy could be joining Winnie-the-Pooh’s gang after all this time.”
Sibley also spoke about his writing process and said, “While pondering what other toys Christopher Robin might have owned but which were never written about, I remembered seeing a photograph of father and son playing on the nursery floor with Winnie-the-Pooh and – a penguin! The thought of Pooh encountering a penguin seemed no more outlandish than his meeting a kangaroo and a tiger in a Sussex wood, so I started thinking about what might have happened if, on a rather snowy day, Penguin had found his way to Pooh Corner…”
The 90th anniversary of Winnie-the-Pooh is on Oct. 14, and The Best Bear in All the World follows on Oct. 25.
See the original photograph and a sneak peak at Penguin below: