The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh
“Beautifully written and thoroughly researched, The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh provides an intimate look into the magic and inspirations behind Milne’s stories, while reminding us of the joy children experience through nature” — Richard Louv, The Nature Principle and Last Child in the Woods
When you read passages from Winnie-the-Pooh, it’s hard not to feel nostalgic. You might remember your parents reading you the stories, or you might remember reading them to your kids. Maybe you remember the original Disney movie or the stuffed bear that sat on your bed. In one way or another, we have all been touched by A. A. Milne’s beloved bear. But did you know that the Hundred Acre Wood—the place where Pooh, Tigger, and Piglet lived and played—is based on a real place? Did you know that you could actually visit Poohstick’s Bridge? That The Floody Place is real?
The setting for Winnie-the-Pooh’s adventures was inspired by the Ashdown Forest, a wildlife haven that spans more than 6,000 acres in southeast England. In The Natural World of Winne-the-Pooh, garden historian Kathryn Aalto explores how this magical place moved both A. A. Milne and E. H Shepherd to create the cherished tales that remain not only relevant, but wildly popular. Aalto takes readers through an exploration of the real landscapes, shares iconic moments from the books and situates them in the places that exist today, and celebrates the interplay of landscape and literature. In a delightful narrative, enriched with E. H. Shepard’s original illustrations, hundreds of color photographs, and Milne’s own words, you will rediscover your favorite characters and the magical place they called home.
Praise for The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh
“Lavishly illustrated with superb photographs as well as reproductions of the delightfully familiar Shepard illustrations…an affectionate book written with enthusiasm.” — The Wall Street Journal
“Aalto’s lovely book provides two great pleasures: a visit to the actual wild spots that inform the fictional Pooh world and a chance to slip into our memories of the books themselves.” — The Washington Post
“Beautifully written and thoroughly researched, The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh provides an intimate look into the magic and inspirations behind Milne’s stories, while reminding us of the joy children experience through nature.”– Richard Louv, The Nature Principle and Last Child in the Woods
“The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh reminds us that the Hundred Acre Wood is quite real and very much alive. Everyone who loves Pooh and Piglet and Christopher Robin will cherish this behind-the-scenes exploration of A. A Milne’s world.” — Amy Stewart, The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks
“Kathryn Aalto has skillfully woven together the geology, geography, history and natural history of the Forest …providing a travelogue, a guide, a nature spotting manual, and a nostalgic glimpse of the past, all rolled into a delightful and eminently readable book, profusely illustrated with photographs and drawings.” — The Garden Window
“An intimate guide to the forest’s history, geology, animals, colours and textures. Tantalising descriptions and photographs invite us to slow our pace, look and listen.” — BBC Wildlife Magazine
“Take this book outdoors, settle into a cushy spot and listen to birds and the breeze as you follow in Winnie’s footprints and see the places that are the foundations to E.H. Shepard’s illustrations, which are as iconic as Milne’s words.” — The Oregonian
“This is a beautifully produced book with an unusual premise that will delight the knowledgeable landscape designer and lay reader alike…Aalto’s book enriches our understanding of the world of this iconic children’s story.” — Landscape Architecture Magazine
“For anyone who has read and reread Milne’s stories, Aalto furnishes a delightful addition to these classic tales, reawakening the childlike wonder and amusement first experienced when reading the books inspired by these locations.” — Shelf Awareness Reader
“New Book Explores the Real Landscapes of Ashdown Forest Which Inspired A. A Milne,” Crowborough Life, 27 Sept 2015.
Kathryn Aalto, “Keep Out of Doors As Much As You Can,” The Wild Network, 24 Sept 2015.
Kathryn Aalto, “What Would Pooh Do? A Walk Through a Forest that Helped Shape (and Could Still Help Save) the Natural Childhood,” Children and Nature Network, 23 Sept 2015.
“Words and Pictures,” Interview with Kathryn Aalto, Society of Book Writers and Illustrators, 29 July 2015
Other writing on The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh can be found in Devon Life, Sussex Life, BBC Countryfile Magazine, and many other sources.