Winnie-the-Pooh is probably not who you think he is. First, he was born "Edward." When a little boy named Christopher Robin Milne received him as a teddy bear in 1921, purchased from Harrods in London as a present for his 1st birthday, the toy's name was Edward - the proper form of "Teddy." Christopher later changed it to Winnie, after a bear he visited at the London Zoo. The "Pooh" was based on Milne's name for a swan he liked to feed.
Beyond his name, the real Winnie-the-Pooh is not the grinning, yellow, red-shirted bear you are familiar with from the Disney films, TV shows, theme parks, and merchandise galore. The real Pooh (AKA "Classic Pooh") is the bear as drawn by illustrator E.H. Shepard in the stories by A.A. Milne: Winnie-the-Pooh, published in 1926, and The House at Pooh Corner, published in 1928.
Shepard and Milne's bear is different in many ways from the Disney version, from how he looks, to the way he speaks, and the adventures he gets caught up in. Disney even eliminated the hyphens from his name. Pooh's forest companions - Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, Owl, and Christopher Robin - are different, too, in both looks and personality. (The characters are so well-known that some people have even formed a theory they represent mental illnesses.)
After A.A. Milne passed in 1956, film rights to his Pooh characters were sold to Disney, which released the film short Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree in 1966, followed by additional short films and the full-length movies The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977), The Tigger Movie (2000), Piglet's Big Movie (2003), Pooh's Heffalump Movie (2005), and Winnie the Pooh (2011), plus numerous TV shows and DVDs.
British people in particular have been (to borrow a Milne word) "bothered" by the Disney portrayal of Pooh and pals, claiming the characters have lost some of their charm and much of their Britishness. Although there's no harm in loving Disney's sweet Winnie-the-Pooh characters, they aren't the classic characters from the original books.
Illustrator E.H. Shepard Called The First Disney Film 'A Complete Travesty'
Disney Filmmakers Thought A.A. Milne's Pooh Stories Were Too British
Disney's Pooh Wears A Red Shirt, But In The Books He's Mostly A Bare Bear
The Disney Pooh Animal Characters Have Midwestern Rather Than British AccentsVideo: YouTube