Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear

5.0 3
by Lindsay Mattick
     
 

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A #1 New York Times Bestseller and Winner of the 2016 Caldecott Medal


Before Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie. And she was a girl!
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

Overview


A #1 New York Times Bestseller and Winner of the 2016 Caldecott Medal


Before Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie. And she was a girl!
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.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Maria Russo
Gorgeously illustrated by Blackall…this delightful telling of the story behind A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh is also a family history.
Publishers Weekly
★ 07/20/2015
Mattick is the great-granddaughter of Capt. Harry Colebourn, the Canadian veterinarian who set all things Winnie-the-Pooh in motion: while en route to join his unit during WWI, Harry rescued an orphaned bear cub from a trapper (it cost him $20) and named her Winnipeg (Winnie for short), after his hometown. She accompanied Harry to England and became the mascot of the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade. Knowing Winnie couldn’t follow him to France, Harry arranged for a new home for her at London Zoo, where a boy named Christopher Robin discovered her, and the rest is literary history. Framed as a bedtime story that Mattick tells her toddler son, Cole (who interjects questions such as “Is twenty dollars a lot?”), the book strikes a lovely, understated tone of wonder and family pride. It also suits Blackall (A Fine Dessert) to a T. While her work usually has a strong streak of fantasy, or at least ethereal otherworldliness, she proves that she’s equally imaginative at chronicling straight-on reality, too. Ages 3–6. Author’s agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. Illustrator’s agent: Nancy Gallt, Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
A New York Times Notable Children's Book of the Year

* "The sum total is as captivating as it is informative, transforming a personal family story into something universally resonant."—Horn Book, starred review

* "Little ones who love Milne's classic stories will be enchanted by this heartening account of the bear's real-life origins."—Booklist, starred review

* "A perfect melding of beautiful art with soulful, imaginative writing, this lovely story, penned by Colebourn's great-great granddaughter, is ideal for sharing aloud or poring over individually."—School Library Journal, starred review

* "The book strikes a lovely, understated tone of wonder and family pride...[Sophie Blackall] proves that she's equally imaginative at chronicling straight-on reality too."

Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Gorgeously illustrated...[a] delightful telling"—New York Times Book Review

"[An] inspiring text...Blackall's breathtaking watercolor illustrations demand to be examined up close, and Winnie's face is as expressive as the humans'."—School Library Connection

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
This is a family story, told by author Mattick to her little son, Cole. In 1914, a young veterinarian named Harry Colebourn left Winnipeg to become an army vet caring for horses. During the long train trip east, he got out to stretch and observed a trapper with a tiny black bear cub for sale. Harry could not resist—he bought the cub for twenty dollars and named her Winnipeg—“Winnie” for short. Sailing for England with the regiment, Winnie became the unit’s beloved mascot until they left for France, when Harry deposited her at the London Zoo. Then begins another story. In the 1920s, young Christopher Milne went to the Zoo with his father, A.A. Milne. Christopher became enchanted with Winnie and was allowed to play with the gentle bear. He named his teddy bear for Winnie (the Pooh part is another story) and his father wrote two books with Christopher and his bear as the heroes of an idyllic childhood. Mattick ties the stories together when she tells Cole that Harry was his great-great grandfather—pictured in a family tree designed by Caldecott-winner Blackall. The artist has done extensive research for her ink-and-watercolor pictures, adopting a palette of mostly clean, pale colors that lend a nostalgic aura. The stylized characters are charming, especially sensitive Harry and his piquant soldier friends. For artistic reasons, Blackall has lightened Winnie’s coat and given her prominent pale eye-rings. The spread of ships sailing for France against a crimson sky is outstanding, and the detailed map of the zoo, reminiscent of E.H. Shepard’s drawings that inspired Blackall to become an illustrator. A similar tribute appears on the cover where silhouettes of the marching soldiers led by Winnie evoke Shepard’s endpaper silhouettes for The House at Pooh Corner. A lovely family album at the end fascinates with its photographs of Harry, Winnie, the soldiers, and Winnie’s admission slip to the zoo. Though the facts have been known, Mattick and Blackall have made them unforgettable. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft; Ages 4 to 8.
Kirkus Reviews
2015-06-23
A mother tells a true bedtime story about the bear that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh's name. Mom tells little Cole about Harry, a veterinarian in Winnipeg "about a hundred years before you were born." En route to his World War I muster, Harry buys a bear cub from a trapper and names her Winnipeg "so we'll never be far from home." Winnie travels overseas with the Canadian soldiers to training in England, but when they ship out to France for actual combat, Harry leaves her at the London Zoo. "That's the end of Harry and Winnie's story," but another section begins, about a boy named Christopher Robin Milne who plays with Winnie at the London Zoo. Christopher Robin names his stuffed bear Winnie-the-Pooh after her, and his father—A.A. Milne, of course—takes the name and runs with it. Mattick's prose has a storyteller's rhythm and features the occasional flourish (repeating "his heart made up his mind"); Blackall's watercolor-and-ink illustrations have a peaceful stillness that's welcome in a book that, though not about combat, concerns the trappings of war. A photo album includes snapshots of Winnie with her soldiers and with Christopher Robin. The piece has something of a split personality, and the Winnie-the-Pooh angle comes so late it seems almost an afterthought. Beautiful but bifurcated, with the two stories in one making it a challenge to determine the audience. (photo album) (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316324908
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
10/20/2015
Pages:
56
Sales rank:
320
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
AD590L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Lindsay Mattick, great-granddaughter of Harry Colebourn, has shared Winnie's story around the world. She lives with her family in Toronto, Canada.

Sophie Blackall's work has appeared in the bestselling Ivy and Bean series, award-winning picture books, a global pro-vaccination campaign, and on a renowned NYC subway poster. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

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Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a lovely book. I had forgotten how it all had started and had to read. I liked seeing the real photos in the back of the book.
Bucky75 More than 1 year ago
+I bought this book for my daughter for Christmas because she collects Winnie. When I opened the book to read it I was amazed at the illustrations and at the history being presented in an easy to understand way. My grandson (8) loved the book, too. He could understand the history too. The illustrations are beautiful and add so much to the story. If you love Winnie or collect him you will love this story.
lilmamaburns More than 1 year ago
My son and I absolutely love the book!! It is our new favorite of all time!! This is a must read for all ages and is sure to be a book that will be passed down for generations to come!!