Winnie-the-Pooh (also referred to in the stories and poems about him as Edward Bear, Pooh Bear, Pooh and simply Bear) is a fictional character who features in novels and poems for children written by A.A. Milne and illustrated by E.H. Shepard. He first appeared, as Edward Bear, in the poem "Teddy Bear" from Milne's 1924 poetry collection When We Were Very Young. He appears in some poems and several illustrations in Milne's 1927 book of poetry Now We Are Six and is the main character in the 1926 novel Winnie-the-Pooh and its sequel The House at Pooh Corner which was first published in 1928. The character was inspired by the toy stuffed bear that was given to the author's son, Christopher Robin Milne, when he was one year old.
The introduction to Winnie-the-Pooh explains that Christopher Robin had changed the name of his toy bear from Edward Bear to Winnie-the-Pooh. Winnie was the name of a bear that Christopher Robin had seen many times at London Zoo, Pooh was a name that the boy had previously given to a swan. In the first chapter of Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin tells his father that the toy bear wants to hear a story about himself. His father makes up a story in which the bear and Christopher Robin both live in houses made of hollowed out trees in the forest. More stories followed which also featured Christopher Robin's other toys.
In the stories about him, Winnie-the-Pooh describes himself as "a bear of very little brain" and he is frequently affectionately called "silly old bear" by Christopher Robin. He is barely able to read or write (his honey jars are marked "HUNNY") and he has a great deal of respect for characters like Piglet, Christopher Robin and Owl who are more literate than he is. Pooh does not realise that Christopher Robin and Owl are also extremely poor at reading and writing. Even though he is not good at reading or writing, one of Pooh's favorite pastimes is making up poems, songs and "hums" which he learns off by heart after he has created them.
Winnie-the-Pooh is fond of his food and expects to receive a snack whenever he visits a friend. He is particularly partial to honey and condensed milk. He is resigned to being fat and does "stoutness exercises" (instead of "fitness exercises") every morning. Pooh's fondness for honey is the cause of many difficulties. It leads him to fly up on a balloon to try to take honey from some bees in a tree, he ends up spending the night in a "Heffalump" trap when he remembers the jar of honey that is left in it as bait, and he presents Eeeyore with an empty jar as a birthday present because he eats the honey inside it on his way to see his friend. Pooh's fondness for food in general leads him to get stuck in a hole, the entrance to his friend Rabbit's home, for a week.
Pooh is extremely friendly and enjoys the company of all the other characters in the stories. He even enjoys spending time with characters that the other s do not like very much, such as Eeyore the constantly miserable donkey and Tigger who frightens other characters with his bouncing. However, Pooh's greatest friends are Piglet and Christopher Robbin.
Although he is wary of the "fiercer creatures", such as "Heffalumps", "Woozles" and "Jagulars", Pooh is not a coward. He is always excited by the idea of going on an expedition and he displays bravery in rescuing the little Roo when he falls in a stream and saving Piglet from a flood.