One of my earliest story-memories is of the beloved Winnie-the-Pooh books by A.A. Milne. Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and all the critters from the Hundred Acre Wood were always a part of my life. And even part of my children’s lives. In fact, my oldest daughter’s first word was “Pooh.” So, when I heard someone wrote a book about the bear that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh, I had to read it. And this book did not disappoint.
TITLE: FINDING WINNIE: THE TRUE STORY OF THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS BEAR
AUTHOR: Lindsay Mattick
ILLUSTRATOR: Sophie Blackall
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown and Company/2015
“Could you tell me a story?” asked Cole
“It’s awfully late.” It was long past dark, and time to be asleep. “What kind of story?”
“You know. A true story. One about a Bear.”
These lines just beg you to turn the page. And so I did. In this book, I found a story within a story about a veterinarian named Harry Colebourn (notice the similarity between this character and the name of the character who speaks first?) who left his hometown of Winnipeg (notice the name of the town?) in 1914 to help the war effort as a horse doctor. On his way, he encounters a man on the train platform with a baby (you guessed it) bear! I won’t say more because I urge you to read this for yourself -- follow Winnie’s journey from train platform to storybook. But I will say that the clever plot structure and flowing text and gorgeous illustrations (Did I mention this won the Caldecott in 2016?) are sure to draw you in and maybe even shout, “Buy me!” like they did to me.