Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick, illustrated by Sophia Blackall

Published by Little, Brown and Company 

Summary:  When Cole asks him for a bedtime story, his mother tells him the tale of Harry Coleburn, a veterinarian who rescued a bear at a train station.  It was 1914, and Harry was traveling from Winnipeg to basic training before going overseas to be an army veterinarian.  The bear, named Winnie for Winnipeg, went with him on all his travels, proving himself to be a most intelligent and entertaining addition to the troops.  Finally, it was time to go to the front, and Harry knew he couldn’t take Winnie with him. Winnie moved to a new home in the London Zoo, where he was later discovered by Christopher Robin Milne, and found his way into stories written by Christopher’s father, Alan Alexander (A. A.) Milne.  The story unfolds in much the same way the Winnie-the-Pooh books do, with a parent telling a child a story.  At the end, the mom/author reveals that Harry Coleburn was her great-grandfather and is her son Coe’s namesake.  Six pages of photos of Harry, Winnie, Lindsay, and Cole are included at the end.  Grades K-3.

Pros:  Lovely illustrations illuminate Lindsay’s fascinating and endearing story to her son.  The revelation of the family connection is an interesting bonus, and the photos enhance that.

Cons:  Two excellent, well-illustrated picture books telling this exact same story (see Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally Walker) in the same year seems like a bit of an unfortunate glut on the market.

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