An official sequel marking the 90th anniversary of Sussex author A.A. Milne's beloved Winnie the Pooh book series sees the introduction of a new character.
The new book, The Best Bear in All the World, is only the second authorised sequel to A.A Milnes 1920s original stories - Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner - and is the first to introduce a new character to the series.
Brian Sibley - one of the four authors behind the work - says the new character was inspired a little-known photograph featuring A.A. Milne and his son Christopher 'Robin' Milne playing with a penguin toy.
Mr Sibley said: “For someone who has loved Winnie-the-Pooh and Co from his earliest childhood, the idea of visiting the ‘100 Aker Wood’ in search of a new story was wildly exciting.
"However, having studied and written about the works of A. A. Milne, it was also daunting. But, for me, the challenge was more than just attempting to play A. A. Milne in his own literary game; I also wanted to find a way of successfully introducing a brand new character into Pooh’s world, whilst being sympathetic to the tone and style of the original books.
“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.”
Penguin was designed by the illustrator and children's author Mark Burgess.
He said: “It’s always a pleasure to draw Winnie the Pooh and his friends. I try to go for the spirit of Shepard’s drawings rather than slavishly copying. I love all the characters but I did especially enjoy drawing Penguin.
"With a new character I feel I’m not quite so much in Shepard’s shadow. I hope Penguin has some more adventures!”
The Best Bear In the World is released on October 6.
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