The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh

A. A. Milne’s classic stories Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner have delighted parents and children for nearly a century.  The real landscape that inspired Milne and his illustrator E. H. Shepard was Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Part travelogue and natural history, this talk weaves history with humor, and birdsong with booklore. Kathryn Aalto tells the story of the real places and the rare flora and fauna in the forest that inspired Milne to create the Hundred Acre Wood, arguably the most beloved setting in children’s literature. Learn about Milne’s extraordinary childhood and remarkable writing career as well as his creative partnership with Shepard that captured generations of readers. Leave with a new understanding of how the Winnie-the-Pooh books are field guides for 21st-century Christopher Robins — hymns to those days of doing nothing yet learning everything. A 45-minute talk with a generous Q&A. 


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“Kathryn’s journey through the real landscapes that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood is delightful and insightful. Her presentation is not only an engaging travelogue through the hills and forests of England but also a deeper dive into the creative process, and nature as inspiration for writers and artists.” Richard A. Kissel, PhD, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University

“Not only was Ms. Aalto thoroughly prepared and professional in her presentation, she was completely charming and engaging to our audience. As a rule, we have a very smart crowd. Ms. Aalto left the crowd delighted and satisfied with their evening out, something that does not always happen with an author presentation! We would gladly have her back for future programs…in fact it cannot be soon enough!” Jacques Lamarre, Director of Communications, The Mark Twain House & Museum, Hartford, CT

“I directed Kathryn for a short ‘taster’ film for a pitch of the documentary version of her book ‘The Natural World of Winnie the Pooh’ for BBC Four. I couldn’t have asked for more from a presenter – she was extremely well prepared with excellent, engaging delivery and the ability to take direction and think on her feet. I very much hope we get to work together in the future.” Jake Hayes, BBC producer

“Kathryn spoke to a large crowd, thoroughly engaging the audience in the details of Ashdown Forest, A.A. Milne’s life, and that of Christopher Robin. Kathryn’s presentation style was direct, warm, and intimate supported by a strong dose of nostalgia from the audience—a winning combination.” Pam Thompson, Manager of Adult Education, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

“I’ve conducted many on-air interviews throughout the last 20 years. You don’t always know what you’re going to get until you’re actually into the interview. Within 10 seconds of my first question with Kathryn, I knew my audience was in for a real treat. Kathryn was engaging, informative, very much at ease, and immediately sucked me into Winnie-the-Pooh’s world. I now have this penchant to play Poohsticks, and I’ve updated my bucket list to include a visit to Ashdown Forest.” Bryan Earl, Host of the Zesty Garden, Utah Public Radio

“We were honored to welcome Kathryn Aalto to the Hudson Library & Historical Society for a truly memorable evening. Kathryn knows how to engage an audience with the right amount of warmth, insight and humor. Her well-researched multimedia presentation, full of beautiful photographs and even the sounds of nature, captured the delight of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories and the beauty of Ashdown Forest. I know many of us left inspired to revisit the stories as well as embark on our own explorations of nature.” Polly Reynolds, Hudson Library & Historical Society, Ohio, USA

“Kathryn Aalto’s knowledge of her work and study is outstanding. She takes this information and shares this enjoyable journey to different types of audiences. I have witnessed her programs for people and children of all ages and have been very impressed on how she changes and makes the information appropriate for the audience she has before her. I highly recommend Kathryn.” — Benjamin Sapp, M.A., Director, The Mazza of International Art from Picture Books

the natural world of winnie the-pooh book