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

Lindsay Mattick, illus. by Sophie Blackall. Little, Brown, $18 (56p) ISBN 978-0-316-32490-8
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.)
Reviewed on: 07/20/2015
Release date: 10/20/2015
Hardcover - 56 pages - 978-986-440-074-4
Hardcover - 56 pages - 978-1-4434-2918-4
DVD-Video - 978-1-5200-1453-1
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