Before he died in 1976, aged 96, Shepard created new line and colour illustrations for The Pooh Story Book and The Christopher Robin Verse Book, as well as hand-colored versions of his original illustrations for new editions of the two Winnie-the-Pooh books, published in 1973 and 1974.
Today, Winnie-the-Pooh continues to be passed on to new generations, through fond memories, books, toys, and films. But what is it that makes this character continue to appeal to both adults and children?
Bilclough points to the “understated humor and clever use of language and dialogue,” nodding to the childlike logic, Eeyore’s sarcasm, puns, and playful misunderstandings. The narratives, she notes, are “very sophisticated, and work on multiple levels.” But they’ve been brought to life through Shepard’s artistry.
“The characters are so well-drawn, we can all relate to one of them, recognize our friends in them, and we care about them,” Bilclough offers. “The stories are about child’s play—inventing adventures to have with your toys, going on quests, climbing trees, hunting imaginary hostile animals—which everyone can relate to.”