Walker, Sally M. Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh, illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss. PICTUREBOOK. MacMillan (Henry Holt and Company), 2015. $17.99. Content: G.
When Henry Colebourne, a WWI Canadian Army Veterinarian sees a baby bear for sale on a train platform, he can’t resist buying her, naming her Winnipeg (after his company’s hometown) and making her the mascot. He knows how to care for a bear after all. When his company is shipped to England, Winnie comes too. She sleeps under Harry’s cot, isn’t afraid of the horses and everyone loves her. But when his company is sent to the battlefields in France, Harry arranges for her to be safely cared for in the London Zoo. That’s where a boy named Christopher Robin finds her, and imagines he has a real bear of his own.
This true story is a tender read. The illustrations are realistic, and the length is perfect for a bedtime story, or even a picture book kickoff to reading the Winnie the Pooh series. I think even the middle school students would find it endearing. It’s fun to find out an old friend was a real live bear. Complete with photographs in the end pages, author's notes, sources and website links to see vintage video! EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL Lisa Librarian