Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Finding Winnie

Author: Lindsay Mattick
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall
Genre: Children, Canadian
Type: Hardcover Picturebook
Source: Local Public Library
Pages: 56
Publisher: Harper Collins Canada
First Published: October 20, 2015
First Line: "Could you tell me a story?" asked Cole.

Book Description from GoodReadsBefore Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie.

In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear. He named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, and he took the bear to war.

Harry Colebourn's real-life great-granddaughter tells the true story of a remarkable friendship and an even more remarkable journey--from the fields of Canada to a convoy across the ocean to an army base in England...

And finally to the London Zoo, where Winnie made another new friend: a real boy named Christopher Robin.

Here is the remarkable true story of the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.


My Review: The world over knows about Winnie the Pooh but do they know the real story behind this popular bear?  In this beautifully illustrated picture book for children author Lindsay Mattick takes readers through the story of how this bear was found in White River, Ontario by Canadian soldier and veterinarian, Harry Colebourn.  She, yes Winnie was female, became a mascot of sorts for Colebourn's troop and won their hearts as they prepared to head off to fight in WWI.

The story then goes on to show how author A.A Milne and his son, Christopher Robin were first introduced to Winnie in a London zoo.  It's through Milne's series of books that Winnie became a household name. 

This is sweet story featuring beautiful illustrations but it's the the addition of the picture album at the back of the book that really makes this book stand out.  The author also happens to be the great granddaughter of Colebourn and her inclusion of pictures of the real Winnie with Harry and his troop as well as pages from Harry's diary during the war give it a personal feel.

This is a uniquely Canadian story involving a bear who won the heart of a soldier, his WWI troop and the entire world.  It is a great way to introduce children to the real history behind this bear who is loved the world over.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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