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

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Modern Age

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear
Author: Mattick, Lindsay
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Time Period: Modern Age
Time Frame: 1915-1918
Geographic Area: World
Country: England, Canada
Topics: WWI
Genre: Non Fiction
Reading Age: Lower Elementary, Middle Grade
Format: Picture Book
Published: 2015

World History > Modern Age > WWI

A #1 New York Times Bestseller and Winner of the Caldecott Medal about the remarkable true story of the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.

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.

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

Emily's Review

Having been a fan of Winnie the Pooh since childhood, you might be surprised that it took me this long to pick up this picture book. I heard about it, but for whatever reason, I just hadn't gotten to it yet. But I regret waiting so long. This book is absolutely delightful.

Have you ever wondered where an author gets their ideas from? Maybe you know that Christopher Robin's toy bear inspired his father. But what inspired Christopher Robin?

Enter Winnipeg the bear, Winnie for short. She was just a cub when Harry Colebourn found her on his way to the War front. He named her after his hometown, and little Winnie became a sort of mascot for the troops. But as much as they had become family, Harry couldn't bring Winnie to battle. So he brought her to the London Zoo. That's where Christopher Robin met her and fell in love. He loved Winnie so much, that he finally settled on a name for his favorite bear - Winnie the Pooh.

I loved the way the author chose to tell this story - a mother telling a bedtime story to her child, complete with interruptions for questions - how very A.A. Milne-ish! It made this feel even more connected to the Pooh stories I've long cherished. The illustrations are lovely as well and really complement the story.

I hope you won't wait as long as I did to pick up this book! It's a great bedtime story and a great way to include a younger sibling in a history lesson on WWI.

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