The remarkable true story of the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh
During World War I, Captain Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian on his way to serve with cavalry units in Europe, rescued a bear cub in White River, Ontario. He named the bear Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, and he took the bear to war.
Harry Colebourn's real-life great-granddaughter Lindsay Mattick recounts their incredible journey, from a northern Canadian town to a convoy across the ocean to an army base in England . . . and finally to the London Zoo, where Winnie made a new friend: a boy named Christopher Robin.
Gentle yet haunting illustrations by acclaimed illustrator Sophie Blackall bring the wartime era to life, and are complemented by photographs and ephemera from the Colebourn family archives.
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.