When I was a little girl, my father would read to me at bedtime from A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. Pooh and Christopher Robin, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit, and Kanga and Roo grew to be comfortable old friends. When hubs and I began dreaming about starting a family, I picked up my own copies to read to my future children.
My father told me a long time ago that Winnie-the-Pooh was based on a real live bear, but I had forgotten the details. Now that story has been made into this beautiful hardcover book, perfect for sharing with young Pooh fans.
Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh tells the story of the original Winnie, a black bear cub picked up at a train station in Ontario in 1914 by Lt. Harry Colebourn of The Fort Garry Horse, a Canadian cavalry regiment. Colebourn, the regiment’s veterinarian, named her Winnipeg after his adopted home city.
Winnie became the regiment’s unofficial mascot and travelled to England with them, but when the unit was ordered to the front in France, Lt. Colebourn decided to leave her with the London Zoo. It was there that Christopher Robin met her for the first time, and literary history was made!
This delightful book is filled with charming watercolour illustrations, and the endpapers feature vintage photos of Harry Colebourn, Winnie, A.A. Milne, and Christopher Robin. I found these glimpses into the past especially fascinating.
The story is set in an army regiment in World War I, so the illustrations do feature soldiers in uniform. In one scene, soldiers are marching in formation with rifles over their shoulders. Use your judgment about reading this to younger children who may have questions about these topics.
I really enjoyed this intersection of Canadian history and classic children’s literature – perfect for Winnie-the-Pooh fans everywhere! Buy your copy at Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, or wherever books are sold.
Win a Winnie!
Raincoast Books is generously offering one This West Coast Mommy reader their own hardcover copy of Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada only, 18 +. All entries will be verified.
Disclosure: I received a sample item for review. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links. This West Coast Mommy is a participant in the Amazon.com.ca, Inc. Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.ca.