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Winnie-the-Pooh and Other Animals at the New York Public Library

Stone Lion Lego Lion

Last week I was in New York for the ABAA New York Antiquarian Book Fair and also the Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Show. As always, New York offered amazing bookstores and a buzzing city.

I had some spare time, and in keeping with the book theme, decided to visit the main branch of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. For me, this building is the very best of what a library can be; beautiful architecture, unique books and a great children’s book collection.

Walking down Fifth Avenue, my first glimpse of the library was the iconic lions (top left), Patience and Fortitude. The library lions are instantly recognizable and mark the library as a special place. On this visit, there were two Lego replicas of the beloved lions (top right) inside the building – definitely worth a look for Lego lovers!

The NYPL is the second largest library in the US and the third largest in the world, with at least 53 million items. The building was designed by John Merven Carrère and Thomas Hastings between 1897 and 1911 and is stunning example of Beaux-Arts design. At the time of construction, the library was the largest marble structure ever built in the US.

In a corner of the children’s library I discovered an exhibit of the real Winnie the Pooh animals: Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, Tigger and Pooh. The animals belonged to Christopher Milne, son of the author, A.A. Milne and the books were donated to the New York Public Library in 1987 by the publisher of the Pooh books (aside: if you don’t know the origins of Winnie the Pooh, they are fascinating).

When you look at these animals you can see they were well loved, with worn patches and bits of fur missing, this makes them that much more endearing . Knowing that the stories were based on treasured and well-loved toys makes them even better to read, I can’t wait to rediscover these tales with my daughters.

The real animals of Winnie-the-Pooh: Piglet

The real animals of Winnie-the-Pooh: Piglet

Guest post compliments of Maria Hutchison, AbeBooks Account Manager for our rare and collectible segment.

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