Winnie the Pooh86 years ago today, the world was introduced to one of its most beloved children’s characters. It was October 14, 1926 when A.A. Milne‘s book Winnie the Pooh was published in England. Today is officially Pooh’s birthday.

Now, I suppose you could get technical and say that Pooh was introduced in a poem in Milne’s first book of poetry, When We Were Very Young. To be honest, this book of poems is one of my all-time favorites. I’ve been reading it to my daughter since before she was born. But I think the tradition of Pooh wasn’t solidified until he got his own work. The Teddy of poetry was only concerned with his waistline.

Winnie the Pooh will always hold such a strong place in our collective childhood culture because it represents the very best of children’s imaginations. It’s what happens when little kids look at their stuffed animals and turn them into real characters, real beings to connect with. We have all been in the shoes of Christopher Robin, looking at our toys as if they were real creatures who loved us and just wanted to play.

From that vantage point, the words Milne put into Pooh’s mouth were the things that he knew little children wanted to hear. Just think about the most infamous Pooh quote, “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” Every child wants to know what someone will love them forever, that someone’s world is tied up in them.

In honor of Pooh’s birthday, we put together a few more of the willy nilly silly old bear’s best quotes. Hopefully they make you smile. And then hopefully they inspire you to pull out the original books and cuddle up with your little one. Let me know of any great quips I missed.

[ITPGallery]