Insiders are banking that the first new book about Winnie the Pooh in 80 years will be one of this year’s significant sellers. From The Times Online:

We haven’t heard from Pooh Bear in 80 years but, in a move that Eeyore would doubtless expect to end in disappointment, the guardians of A. A. Milne’s estate have sanctioned a third book of ursine adventures.

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood will be published in October and booksellers are already inking it in as a Christmas bestseller.

The Wall Street Journal chimes in with a voice that is predictably more edged in the business of business:

The troubled book industry, in need of titles that will pull readers into the stores, will get a much-needed jolt this fall when the first authorized sequel to A.A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh” and “The House at Pooh Corner” is published Oct. 5 under the title “Return to the Hundred Acre Wood.”

Refreshingly — and, we think, appropriately — The Telegraph made it all about the joy:

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood will reflect Milne’s idea that “whatever happens, a little boy and his bear will always be playing”, author David Benedictus said.

Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh have been fixed firmly in the imagination of British children since Milne and illustrator EH Shephard created the characters in the 1920s.

But up until now they have been left in the “enchanted place”, as Milne called the wood.

Though in some ways Benedictus seems almost bizarrely overqualified to tackled the Pooh story, it will be interesting to see what he dreams up.

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