Fire Destroys Parts of Ashdown Forest, the Woods That Inspired Winnie the Pooh Burley Burley

The real-life forest that inspired Winnie the Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood caught fire the night of Sunday, April 28, the BBC reports. Firefighters were able to contain the blaze at Ashdown Forest in Sussex, England, but not before it consumed up to 50 acres of woodland.

Ashdown Forest is perhaps best known as the former home of A.A. Milne. The Winnie the Pooh author lived there in the 1920s when he conceived his famous children's stories. He decided to base the home of Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore on the woods, and the books' illustrator E.H. Shepard also drew inspiration from the setting.

On Sunday night, a fire started at the iconic forest and grew rapidly. It was fueled by undergrowth on the forest floor that was "dry as straw" despite recent rain, forest ranger Chriss Sutton told the BBC. As much as 50 acres of forest caught fire, and a valley area near the village of Duddleswell was completely destroyed.

Despite the devastating loss, forest rangers are feeling optimistic about the site's recovery. Animals and insects are expected to move into the area quickly, and in about six months, thriving plant life will have replaced much of the damage. And if visitors to Ashdown want to visit the memorial to Milne in the meantime, the part of the forest where it's located remains unharmed.

[h/t BBC]

Kids Can Join Children's Book Author Mo Willems for Daily "Lunch Doodles" on YouTube

Screenshot via YouTube
Screenshot via YouTube

For children interested in taking drawing lessons, there are few better teachers than Mo Willems. The bestselling author and illustrator has been charming young readers for years with his Pigeon picture book series. Now, from the Kennedy Center, where he's currently the artist-in-residence, Willems is hosting daily "Lunch Doodles" videos that viewers can take part in wherever they are. New lessons are posted to the Kennedy Center's YouTube channel each weekday at 1:00 p.m. EST.

With the novel coronavirus outbreak closing schools across the country, many kids are now expected to continue their education from home. For the next several weeks, Willems will be sharing his time and talents with bored kids (and their overworked parents) in the form of "Lunch Doodles" episodes that last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. In the videos, Willems demonstrates drawing techniques, shares insights into his process, and encourages kids to come up with stories to go along with their creations.

"With millions of learners attempting to grow and educate themselves in new circumstances, I have decided to invite everyone into my studio once a day for the next few weeks," Willems writes for the center's blog. "Grab some paper and pencils, pens, or crayons. We are going to doodle together and explore ways of writing and making."

If kids don't want to doodle during lunch, the videos will remain on YouTube for them to tune in at any time. The Kennedy Center is also publishing downloadable activity pages to go with each episode on its website [PDF]. For more ways to entertain children in quarantine or isolation, check out these livestreams from zoos, cultural institutions, and celebrities.

This App Lets You Download Free E-Books, Magazines, Comic Books, and Audiobooks From Your Library

boggy22, iStock via Getty Images
boggy22, iStock via Getty Images

Even if your local library is closed during the novel coronavirus outbreak, you can still use your library card in quarantine. As Thrillist reports, Libby is an app that works with local libraries to give you free access to audiobooks, e-books, comic books, and magazines wherever you are.

Libby, an app from the digital reading company Overdrive, is connected to 90 percent of public libraries in North America. To use the app, just enter the information from your library card and start browsing digital titles available through your local branches. If you don't have a library card yet, some participating libraries will allow you to sign up for a digital card in the app. That way, you don't have to leave home to start reading.

As more people are looking for e-books and audiobooks to pass the time at home, Overdrive has made it possible for multiple users to check out the same title at once. That means as more libraries shift to a 100 percent online loan system for the time being, it will be easier to meet their patrons' needs.

No matter what your current literary mood may be, you should have no trouble finding something to read on Libby. Downloadable titles from the New York Public Library currently available through the app include the e-book of Becoming by Michelle Obama, the e-book of Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, and the audiobook of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. After you download a book, you can send it to your Kindle device, and all items are automatically returned on their due date. Download the free app today to start browsing.

[h/t Thrillist]