Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear
beautiful picture book, illustrated by Sophie Blackall and written by
Lindsay Mattick, tells the miraculous journey of a man and his bear
that crossed the Atlantic from Canada to England; and this is the
very bear that would become the inspiration for Winnie-the-Poohwhen
A.A. Milne and his son visited the London Zoo.
August 24, 1914, Captain Harry Colebourn bought a baby bear for $20
on a train station platform.
stopped. It’s not every day that you see a bear cub at a train
station. 'That Bear has lost its mother,' he thought, 'and that man
must be the trapper who got her.'”
his way overseas to fight in World War I, Colebourn, a veterinarian
from Winnipeg, decided to name the bear Winnie after his hometown.
Colebourn showed Winnie to the Colonel, he was originally met with
Colebourn!” said the Colonel on the train, as the little Bear
sniffed at his knees. “We are on a journey of a thousand miles,
heading into the thick of battle, and you propose to bring this Most
Dangerous Creature?” Bear stood straight up on her hind legs as if
to salute the Colonel. The Colonel stopped speaking at once—and
then, in quite a different voice, he said, 'Oh, hallo.'”
Winnie was one of their own.
Winnie is narrated by Lindsay
Mattick, the great-grandaughter of Harry Colebourn, as a family story
passed down from generation to generation. When Lindsay's son asks
her for a story, she asks, “What
kind of story?” to which the reply
is;“You know. A true story. One
about a Bear.”
crossing the Atlantic with Winnie, Harry knew that she was growing
larger and could not be taken into battle, so he took her to the
head bowed. Harry’s hands were warm as sunshine, as usual. 'There
is something you must always remember,” Harry said. 'It’s the
most important thing, really. Even if we’re apart, I’ll always
love you. You’ll always be my Bear.'”
Interior spread from Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear
and Winnie's parting seem's like the end of the story, but as Lindsay
points out, “Sometimes, you have to let one story begin so the
next one can begin.”
beautiful and heartfelt illustrations by Sophie Blackall bring this
story to life in ink and watercolor. Her illustrations depict Harry
Colebourn’s excitement of finding the bear, the heartache of
leaving Winnie behind in the zoo, and the joy of a new friendship
with Christopher Robin.
find out more about Sophie Blackall's fascinating illustration
process in Finding
Winnie, will bring you and your
child joy and delight at discovering the true story behind one of the
most famous characters in literature, and show that sometimes, one
story's ending is just another story's beginning.