Hide the honey pots: Winnie the Pooh returns
The honey-loving, sweet-natured children's character Winnie the Pooh is making an official comeback, 80 years after his first published appearance.
A new book, with the blessing of the estates of author A.A. Milne and illustrator E.H. Shepard, will feature Winnie in the first authorized sequel to Milne's 1920s stories called Return to the Hundred Acre Wood.
"We hope that the many millions of Pooh enthusiasts and readers around the world will embrace and cherish these new stories as if they had just emerged from the pen of A.A. Milne himself," Michael Brown of the Trustees of the Pooh Properties, told BBC News.
Due out in October, the book was written by David Benedictus and illustrated by Mark Burgess.
"The original books were one of the greatest celebrations of childhood in any language, but we believe that David Benedictus and Mark Burgess have captured the spirit and quality of those original books," said Brown.
Benedictus, who adapted and produced audio adaptations of Winnie the Pooh starring Dame Judi Dench, Stephen Fry and Jane Horrocks, said it was an honour to write the official sequel.
"I hope that the new book will both complement and maintain Milne's idea that whatever happens, a little boy and his bear will always be playing," Benedictus said in a release.
The remark is a direct reference to the last line in the last book The House at Pooh Corner (1928):
"And so they went off together but wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place at the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing."
The plot of the new book is a closely-guarded secret but it's rumoured to be a continuation in which Christopher Robin grows up.
Two-thirds of the profits from the book will go to charity, including Britain's Royal Literary Fund for struggling authors and the Clare Milne Trust, which helps disabled people.
"On the one hand you can't improve on perfection. On the other, if you can offer to the millions of people worldwide who love Pooh another series of stories, isn't that wonderful? And if it makes money for our charities, isn't that good, too?" said Brown.
Alan Alexander Milne, who died in 1956, based the Christopher Robin character on his own son. He only wrote two Winnie the Pooh books, which have been translated into more than 50 languages.
The "silly old bear" was inspired by a real-life bear in the London Zoo. That bear, named "Winnie" (short for Winnipeg), was a donation from a Canadian Army veterinarian in the First World War.
Before becoming a star attraction at the zoo, Winnie was the mascot of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade.
Since 1961, Disney has owned the film, television and merchandising rights to the character of Pooh and created its own set of adventures and products.
Shepard, who died in 1976, once called the first Winnie the Pooh Disney film "a complete travesty."