A new Winnie-the-Pooh adventure has been released to celebrate both the 90th birthday of the Queen and the fictional bear himself.
Winnie-the-Pooh and the Royal Birthday sees the much-loved bear travel to Buckingham Palace with Christopher Robin and friends, Piglet and Eeyore.
The free book has been written by Jane Riordan and is illustrated in the classic EH Shepard style.
It is available as an audio-video download, narrated by Jim Broadbent.
The Queen officially celebrates her 90th birthday on 11 June, although her actual birthday is 21 April 1926.
The first Winnie-the-Pooh book, written by AA Milne, was published in October 1926, though the bear ‘of very little brain’ had previously featured in a poem and a tale in a newspaper.
Broadbent said he had “loved being part of” the new adventure.
“I have been a fan of Winnie-the-Pooh since I was a boy. In fact I named my very first and much loved teddy Pooh and that can only have been after the AA Milne character,” the actor said.
“It’s been an honour to narrate such an iconic story and I want to wish both Her Majesty The Queen and Winnie-the-Pooh a very happy 90th.”
In the new story, Pooh and his companions travel to Buckingham Palace to deliver a special present to the Queen.
The present turns out to be one of Pooh’s famous “hum” songs.
The story also features Prince George, recognisable by his clothes and blonde hair but described only as a little boy “much younger than Christopher Robin and almost as bouncy as Tigger”.
He is given a red balloon by Piglet and is pictured patting him on the head and tickling Pooh’s ears.
Author Riordan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that writing the tale had been “daunting but a huge honour”.
“We wanted to broaden the appeal of Winnie-the-Pooh and give everyone access to him,” she said.
Despite her initial trepidation over what to write, Riordan said Milne’s stories were so vivid she “found I could imagine what the characters might say and sound like as they were so real in my head”.
Whether a print version will be made available is yet to be decided.
All the illustrations have been created by Mark Burgess, who also drew the pictures for the first authorised sequel to Winnie-the-Pooh – Return To The Hundred Acre Wood – in 2009.
The Queen is said to have loved the stories of Winnie-the-Pooh as a child, and author AA Milne’s collection of poems, Teddy Bear And The Other Songs From When We Were Very Young, was dedicated to her when it was published in 1926.
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