[poems + recipe] playing with pooh

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘What about lunch?’” ~ A.A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh)

Why, hello . . . and brrrrrrrrrr!

Have you been hibernating? Must say your freshly brushed fur looks stunning!

Since we’re feeling quite bearish after our holiday break, today we’re serving up some tea, cookies, and huggable poems to help us get back into the swing of things.

All art by Ernest H. Shepard.

Our friend Pooh is joining us in remembrance of his creator A.A. Milne, born 140 years ago this week.

You probably know the world first “met” Pooh in Milne’s poem, “Teddy Bear” (initially published in Punch Magazine and then republished in his first book of verse, When We Were Very Young (1924)). 

“Teddy Bear” as it appeared in Punch with Shepard’s illustrations (1924).

Though he wasn’t yet named ‘Winnie-the-Pooh,’ there’s no doubt whom Milne was referring to. Though at first worried about his size, Edward Bear comes to embrace his adiposity after a chance meeting with the King of France, who’s not only stout but handsome!

They stood beneath the window there,
The King and Mr. Edward Bear,
And, handsome, if a trifle fat,
Talked carelessly of this and that . . . 

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at.
But do you think it worries him
To know that he is far from slim?
No, just the other way about --
He's proud of being short and stout.

After the success of When We Were Very Young, illustrator E.H. Shepard encouraged Milne to write some stories about his son Christopher Robin’s toys. Winnie-the-Pooh, published in 1926, was a critical and commercial success, becoming one of the best loved children’s books of all time.

In 1927, Milne and Shepard followed up with another book of nursery rhymes, Now We Are Six, in which this beloved classic appears:

by A.A. Milne

Wherever I am, there's always Pooh, 
There's always Pooh and Me. 
Whatever I do, he wants to do, 
"Where are you going today?" says Pooh: 
"Well, that's very odd 'cos I was too. 
Let's go together," says Pooh, says he. 
"Let's go together," says Pooh. 

"What's twice eleven?" I said to Pooh. 
("Twice what?" said Pooh to Me.) 
"I think it ought to be twenty-two." 
"Just what I think myself," said Pooh. 
"It wasn't an easy sum to do, 
But that's what it is," said Pooh, said he. 
"That's what it is," said Pooh. 

"Let's look for dragons," I said to Pooh. 
"Yes, let's," said Pooh to Me. 
We crossed the river and found a few- 
"Yes, those are dragons all right," said Pooh. 
"As soon as I saw their beaks I knew. 
That's what they are," said Pooh, said he. 
"That's what they are," said Pooh. 

"Let's frighten the dragons," I said to Pooh. 
"That's right," said Pooh to Me. 
"I'm not afraid," I said to Pooh, 
And I held his paw and I shouted "Shoo! 
Silly old dragons!"- and off they flew. 

"I wasn't afraid," said Pooh, said he, 
"I'm never afraid with you." 

So wherever I am, there's always Pooh, 
There's always Pooh and Me. 
"What would I do?" I said to Pooh, 
"If it wasn't for you," and Pooh said: "True, 
It isn't much fun for One, but Two, 
Can stick together, says Pooh, says he. "That's how it is," says Pooh.

~ from Now We Are Six (E. P. Dutton, 1927)

Christopher Robin sharing a cookie with his teddy.


Oddly enough, I didn’t have a teddy bear when I was little. I had lots of dolls, but no bears. I used to joke with my mom: “see what happens when you deprive children of teddies – they grow up to collect hundreds of them just to make up for it!”

I received my first teddy bear as a Christmas gift from my brother when I was in high school. It was a straw-stuffed Pooh Bear from Sears. I took Pooh with me when I moved into my college dorm, and years later, after having lived in London while teaching, my dad shipped Pooh to me when we moved to Virginia.

Today, my well loved Pooh is holding up quite well for somebear over 50 years old. Though he takes fewer “expotitions” these days, he’s always up for a little smackerel of something. 🙂

Early sketch by E.H. Shepard.

To me, “Us Two” answers the question, “why bears?” When it comes to toys, teddies are the most egalitarian. Dolls carry the stigma of being too girly; the same goes for boys and trucks.

Bears are non judgmental and do not discriminate; they’re simply for everyone regardless of age or gender. Though Pooh is a bear of “very little brain,” he pulls his weight with his loyalty and big heart. Bears are companion, comfort, and the world’s best listeners (just don’t get into a staring contest with one).

Christopher Robin’s toys are displayed at the NY Public Library.
Shepard actually used his son’s Growler bear as the model for Pooh.

This may be why so many adults still have their childhood teddy bears, why some policemen carry bears in their car trunks in case they encounter a traumatized child, why bears are often gifted to residents of nursing homes, why boxes of bears are shipped to child refugees. Far from lazing about feasting on “hunny” all day, bears work hard to earn their keep.

With a poem like, “Us Two,” Milne tapped into the power of the imagination, the singular attachment children have with their toys, and the human longing for an always together friendship.


☕️A Little Smackerel of Something🍪

What Mr Cornelius and the Alphabet Soup kitchen helpers like best about Pooh is (of course) his love of food — anywhere, any place, any time. And it’s not just about filling his tummy; Pooh also appreciates the more subtle emotional highs of eating.

‘Well,’ said Pooh, ‘what I like best,’ and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Hunny was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.

We experienced this very thing just before biting into a warm Chocolate Crisp cookie. 🙂

Mr Cornelius found the recipe in Winnie-the-Pooh’s Cookie Book. It called for almost two whole cups of unsweetened cocoa, and when we mixed it into the batter it made a fragrant chocolate cloud that coated everything on the countertop. 🙂

These cookies are easy to make, but a little advance planning is necessary since you need to chill the dough for at least two hours (overnight is probably best). Must say the dough smelled really good when I was slicing it into 1/4″ pieces before baking.

These babies are oh-so-chocolaty and rum tum tiddley pom delish!

Perfect for whenever you’re feeling rumbly in your tummy, be sure to pack some for your next ‘expotition’ in the Hundred Acre Wood.

Chocolate Crisps

  • Servings: 5 dozen
  • Difficulty: average
  • Print


  • 1-1/2 cups softened butter (3 sticks)
  • 2-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1-3/4 cups sifted cocoa
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla extract, and mix well.
  4. In another bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together.
  5. Add to butter mixture, mixing until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  6. Divide dough in half, roll into logs, wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
  7. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 12 to 14 minutes.

~ adapted from Winnie-the-Pooh’s Cookie Book by Dawn Martin, inspired by A.A. Milne (Dutton, 1996), as posted at Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

One more poem while you’re enjoying your cookies and tea:

Christopher Milne with Winnipeg (after whom he named his teddy bear) at the London Zoo.
by A.A. Milne

If I were a bear,
And a big bear too,
I shouldn't much care
If it froze or snew;
I shouldn't much mind
If it snowed or friz--
I'd be all fur-lined
With a coat like his!

For I'd have fur boots and a brown fur wrap,
And brown fur knickers and a big fur cap.
I'd have a fur muffle-ruff to cover my jaws.
And brown fur mittens on my big brown paws.
With a big brown furry-down up to my head,
I'd sleep all the winter in a big fur bed.

~ from Now We Are Six (E.P. Dutton, 1927)


“A hug is always the right size.” ~ Winnie-the-Pooh

Any fun Pooh stories to share? Did you have a teddy bear when you were little?


The lovely and talented Tabatha Yeatts is hosting the Roundup at The Opposite of Indifference. Be sure to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared around the blogosphere this week. Have a nice weekend, and don’t forget the ALA Youth Media Awards on Monday, January 24, starting at 9 a.m. EST. Live Webcast link is here.


Art by Marie Assénat

* Copyright © 2022 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

42 thoughts on “[poems + recipe] playing with pooh

  1. What a delight! Thank you for the recipe…my college boy has been baking cookies and I may need new pants soon. LOL. I so enjoyed this visit with pooh poems. I think I’ll even steal back for another visit today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘Bear with me’, Jama, as remember fondly my Cindy Bear (aptly named after Cindy on The Brady Bunch) who lives in my basement to this day. The first gift my oldest daughter got upon her birth was a Pooh Bear from her grandpa. Fast forward 24 years and now she has many A.A. Milne quotes framed upon the walls of her apartment and her “Pooh-Pooh” sitting on her bed. Thank you for this im-paws-sibly sweet post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do have my teddy that was given to me by my father who died in WWII. If you saw it, you would see that it has been well-loved. It now sits in an also beloved child’s rocker that belonged to a grandmother when she was small. I have all those Pooh books, the first ones I read aloud to my children and in my early teaching to my first graders. Your post brings beautiful memories, Jama, & I kept the recipe, will give it a try soon! Don’t you love “and Pooh said: “True,”? Have a cozy weekend with Pooh & friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I never had a teddy bear until my sons came along. They had Pooh and Tigger, and loved them so much. Pooh is one of my favorite baby shower gifts to give. About 30 yrs. ago, I started Boyd’s Bears and still have them. Thank you for this heartwarming post! P.S. I’m going to make those cookies!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I have a few Boyds Bears too! Love that you gift Poohs for baby showers (so perfect!). Enjoy the cookies, but watch out for hungry bears.


  5. I’d love a little smackerel of one of those cookies myself! Thank you, as always, for your mouthwatering and heartwarming posts. Now I’m thinking about the singing the snow (tiddly pom) song. Make sure you eat the crumbs…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Fragrant Chocolate Cloud” is the name of my (yet-to-be-invented) rock band. I had a Pooh cookbook when I was a kid…I think it’s around here somewhere! We quote him (and Piglet) often about this and that. So quotable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, many good Pooh quotes. I like your idea of a rock band named Fragrant Chocolate Cloud :D. All members would wear brown of course.


  7. Jama, your post was a trip down memory lane. Teddies make such great companions. I even learned a new word:expotition refers to “voyages of discovery in which, it is hoped by all concerned, nothing Fierce is dis- “covered.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My Pooh-bear and Piglet live with me in my office. They watch over my adult life benevolently, and I am lavish with hugs when they come down from the shelf for a dusting. So many memories. My childhood cat, Boots Toots Jeanette Renae Hahn, would snuggle up to Pooh and give him a good cleaning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love that you have Pooh and Piglet in your office! Speaking of taking bears down for a dusting, I’m way behind on that (happens when there are dozens that need cleaning). I wish there was such a thing as self cleaning bears. That’s quite a name for a cat, BTW. Love it!


  9. There is nothing so lovable and timeless as Winnie-the-Pooh. What a delicious post! I did have a Teddy Bear but only when I was old enough to ask for it. I slept with it until my new husband said he must go. But we called each other “Bear” with affection. We write a quote of the day on the board and one we had this week was from Christopher Robin. I had to explain to my second grader the significance. “Promise me you’ll always remember that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think”. – Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ah, “Thank you Beary Much” Jama, for this yummy delicious post, and it feels so good inside from reading!!! I never had a Pooh bear, but I had “When We Were Very Young,” and “Now We Are Six,” and I still have them and love them dearly, and remember them fondly. I think my younger brother had a Pooh bear, I had an Andy, and my older sister had Raggedy Ann. I gave my daughter a number of bears, even after she was grown up, and my son had bears too–I’m sure there was a Pooh bear in the mix. Love the little bee you shared with us, and all the arrangements, thanks for all these smiles, little words and all! xox ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad Pooh and friends made you happy this week, Michelle. Nice to hear about the bears in your family and that you enjoyed Milne’s books. Amazing that he only published 4 children’s books yet he’s earned a coveted place when it comes to classic authors. Also ironic that he did NOT want to be remembered for his children’s books. He was prouder of his nonfiction and plays, etc. But Pooh is his legacy — can’t outshine bears!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I absolutely loved those poems as a child, and memorized several of them. Wonderful post, as always! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

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