Reviews for Finding Winnie: The True Story of the Worlds Most Famous Bear

by Lindsay Mattick

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

K-Gr 3-This sweet tale of the black bear that inspired the legendary children's book character Winnie-the-Pooh will resonate with readers. In the framing story, a mother tells her son, Cole, a bedtime tale about how veterinarian Harry Colebourn, a young Canadian soldier on his way to train and fight in Europe during World War I, stumbled upon a baby black bear that he bought off a trapper at a train depot. Colebourn named the bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, a gentle reminder of his hometown, and took the bear with him to England. Winnie quickly became the mascot of his unit. But when the time came to ship out to France for combat, Colebourn left his beloved pet in the capable hands of the London Zoo. Later, Milne and his son, Christopher Robin, visited the London Zoo and Christopher Robin took an immediate shine to Winnie, developing an unusually strong bond with the animal and even playing with her in her enclosure. The boy imagined all sorts of adventures for Winnie, which became the basis for the now-famous stories written by Milne. Washes of muted colors convey a cozy cheeriness that imbues the book with warmth and comfort, while occasional interjections from young Cole add to the fun. Blackall's characters are rosy-cheeked and expressive, while Winnie is curious and whimsical. 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. VERDICT Children everywhere will enjoy this tale for years. A must-have.-Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* Mattick's family ties to Winnie-the-Pooh form the backbone of her cozy debut. Framed as Mattick telling a bedtime story to her young son, Cole, her tale begins in 1914 in Canada, when veterinarian Harry Colebourn, her own great-grandfather, sets off to join the war in Europe. A fateful whistle-stop encounter with a gentle bear cub begins the historic friendship, when Colebourn buys the cub for 20 dollars. Though officers in Colebourn's division were initially aghast that he would bring a wild animal along, they were quickly won over by her irrepressible charm (and appetite), and the bear, named Winnipeg after their hometown, became the division's mascot. Winnie accompanied the soldiers all the way to England, where Colebourn eventually took Winnie to the London Zoo. There Christopher Robin met Winnie and the rest is literary history. Blackall's warm, beautiful gouache-and-ink illustrations capture an impressive depth of feeling, even in relatively simplified faces. The visuals not only complement the fablelike cadences of Mattick's text but also include subtle details that enrich the story the opening pages, for instance, recall a storybook forest before melting into the surroundings of Cole's bedroom, where he hears the story of Colebourn and Winnie. Little ones who love A. A. Milne's classic stories will be enchanted by this heartening account of the bear's real-life origins.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2015 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Back