cover image Winnie’s Great War

Winnie’s Great War

Lindsay Mattick and Josh Greenhut, illus. by Sophie Blackall. Little, Brown , $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-316-44712-6

Expanding upon their Caldecott-winning picture book, 2015’s Finding Winnie, Blackall and Mattick add Greenhut (the Flat Stanley series) to their team for this amplified tale of the bear who traveled from the Canadian woods across the Atlantic during World War I to the London Zoo, where she became the inspiration for Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. Narrated by a descendant of Captain Harry Colebourn, who adopted Winnie, and told to Colebourn’s great-great-grandson, the story focuses on Winnie’s gentle, fun-loving nature and her devotion to Colebourn throughout their journey in wartime Europe. Brief excerpts from Colebourn’s diaries ground the book in historical reality, while Winnie’s relationships with horses and rats—even a Canadian infantry’s billy goat—create a warm animal story. Winnie expresses herself in language throughout the narrative, but she communicates with Colebourn through expressions and movements (“ ‘I’m not getting in,’ Winnie said by lying down in the mud”). Well-detailed descriptions carry the reader along on the trip, and Colebourn and Winnie’s strong friendship, rendered believably and movingly, is the emotional heart of the story. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. [em]Authors’ agents: (for Mattick) Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists; (for Greenhut) Kim Witherspoon, InkWell Management. Illustrator’s agent: Nancy Gallt, Gallt and Zacker Literary Agency. (Sept.) [/em]