“AMONG THE BEST EVER WRITTEN FOR CHILDREN”: FIRST EDITIONS OF MILNE’S FOUR POOH BOOKS, INCLUDING WINNIE THE POOH SIGNED BY HIM
MILNE, A. A. The Four Pooh Books: When We Were Very Young; Winnie The Pooh; Now We Are Six; The House At Pooh Corner. London: Methuen, 1924-28. Four volumes. Small octavo, original pictorial cloth, top edges gilt, original dust jackets. Housed in custom chemise and full morocco clamshell box with pictorial morocco inlay. $25,000.
First editions of Milne’s wonderful “Pooh Quartet,” in original dust jackets, with Winnie the Pooh signed on the title page by Milne.
"Although Alan Alexander Milne wrote novels, short stories, poetry and many plays for adults, in addition to his work as assistant editor for Punch from 1906 to 1914, it is his writings for children that have captured the hearts of millions of people worldwide and granted Milne everlasting fame" (Silvey, 461). Milne wrote most of these poems at the request of friend and fellow poet Rose Fyleman, who was planning a new children's magazine. "On a rain-blighted holiday in Wales, [Milne] escaped from the crowd of fellow guests to the summerhouse, and for 11 days wrote a set of children's verses, one each day… 'There on the other side of the lawn was a child with whom I had lived for three years [his son, Christopher Robin]… and here within me were unforgettable memories of my own childhood.' He added more verses when he got home, enough for a book, and allowed some to be published in advance in Punch" (Carpenter & Prichard, 351). Shepard, a Punch staff artist at the time, provided delightful line vignettes, resulting in "a wonderful marriage of verse and vision. His delicately precise and fresh drawings had an instant appeal" (DNB). When We Were Very Young first edition, second issue as usual, with page ix numbered (any first edition copy is exceedingly scarce).
Original dust jackets generally very good, spines with light toning and mild loss to ends; small dampstain to front panel and split along folds of dust jacket of When We Were Very Young. Books fine with gilt bright. A lovely set, very desirable with Winnie the Pooh signed by Milne.