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Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear
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Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  8,016 ratings  ·  2,112 reviews

Before there was Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie.

In 1914, 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-granddaug

Hardcover, 56 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Lily I would say K-5 because this was a Battle of the Books book 2017-18
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Lydia In New York and Boston. The publisher's company is called Little, Brown and Company. …moreIn New York and Boston. The publisher's company is called Little, Brown and Company. (less)

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Average rating 4.51  · 
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 ·  8,016 ratings  ·  2,112 reviews

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Feb 14, 2021 added it
[Book #14 for my grad school Children's Lit class] ...more
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
5ish stars.

I didn't think there would be any topping the other Caldecott honor true story of Winnie-The-Pooh picture book released in the same year and covering basically identical content (Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh). Kind of funny how that happened, huh? They both feature incredibly gorgeous artwork. Of the two it was ultimately Blackall's neat, clean, highly detailed illustrations that won out and earned the Caldecott medal for this book.

Without doubt, th
You learn about the history of Winnie and this is a great story. I love the pictures at the end of the book about everything that happened. A picture of Harry, his journal the day he bought Winnie, Pictures of Winnie in the army, and pictures of Winnie in the Zoo with Christopher Robin. This is the history of the famous bear. I didn't think there was a real bear and sure enough, there is. Well, the author, Lindsay, it he granddaughter of Harry so she is also part of this story. It is a fantastic ...more
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
What is it with bears and WWI? Aw, heck. Let’s expand that question a tad. What is it with adorable animals and WWI? Seems these days no matter where you turn you find a new book commemorating a noble creature’s splendor and sacrifice on the battlefields of Europe. If it’s not Midnight, A True Story of Loyalty in World War I by Mark Greenwood or Stubby, the War Dog by Ann Bausum, it’s Voytek, the Polish munitions bear in Soldier Bear or, best known of them all, the inspiration for Winnie-the- ...more
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Utterly charming. I loved the story within a story, and the album at the end with real photographs of Winnie, Harry, and Christopher Robin. The art is utterly charming, and best of all, it's a story you can actually read to a small child! Too often nonfiction picture books are far too wordy and dry, and you lose the child's attention after one page. But here there was just the right balance of well-placed, age-appropriate words and pictures. Lovely book! ...more
May 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
2016: This story is set up as a Mom telling her son a story, which we get to read as the main storyline. I really liked the stories told in here, but I found the storytelling aspect to be clunky. It was like the author wanted to write her son a picture book that pertained to him and his family and then decided to publish it for the masses, assuming they'd find the story as special as her family does. But by pointing out that this is HER family's story, the audience is never allowed to make the s ...more
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
November is always the time of year where I commemorate the World Wars. This year is weird in many ways and it affected my plans. Nevertheless, I didn’t want this month to come and go without having done at least one little thing in memory of all those fallen and those terrible years, all in one century. Thus, I read this book.

Winnie the Pooh is a name almost everyone on the planet has heard. Enchanting stories for young and old about a (toy) bear and his boy, Christopher Robin.
What not too many
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Hilary by: Found in the library
The story of the real bear who inspired the name of Winnie the Pooh. The story starts with a little boy asking for a story and mum telling how a WWI soldier bought a baby bear from a trapper as a mascot for his troupe. The rest of the story switches between the historical story and the mum telling the bedtime story which ends with them looking at a photo album, in this are photos of Winnie and soldier Harry, Christopher Robin meeting the bear and diary entries for the time. The author's son who ...more
This story really impressed me. I loved how the author wove three, true stories into this book. It is the true story of how Winnie-the-Pooh became the beloved story book character that we all know today. The illustrations were bright and colorful and I loved the "album" in the back of the book that showed real photos of Harry, Winnie, Christopher Robin, and the author with her baby Cole. Read it. I was so pleased with this book that I even had my husband read it. He, too, loved it. It just feels ...more
Laura Harrison
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely glorious. Winnie the Pooh is red hot right now. This is the second bio of Pooh picture book in a year. The illustrations are detailed and brilliant. This may be Sophie Blackalls best work to date. It is definitely worthy of the Caldecott. I think the author (cool backstory there), lives in Canada which would unfortunately make the title ineligible. Sure hope I am wrong because the text and illustrations are marvelous.
Julie Carpenter
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, 2017
My daughter brought this cute book home from the school library. It was fun to read with my family and watch my daughters have some "aha" moments connecting the stories being shared in this book to the story of Winnie-the-Pooh. We all enjoyed the artwork and how it connected with pictures from a family photo album at the end.

A really neat story telling us about the real Winnie-the-Pooh and how she came to help inspire the creation of the beloved and well loved books of A.A. Milne.

We especially
Although I do appreciate that with Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear, author Lindsay Mattick is actually telling the reader her own family's story with the framed narrative of a mother (who is clearly meant to represent herself) telling her little son Cole about his great-great-grandfather Harry Colebourne and Winnie the bear (how he saved Winnie's life as a cub and named her Winnipeg after Harry's hometown, how she became his army unit's mascot while they were train ...more
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This book. That bear. Quotable, full of love and history, and a feat of story within story.
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was very hesitant to read Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear because I'm such a huge fan of Milne's stories and I was afraid that knowing the true story would somehow ruin them especially with the WWI aspect. I'm delighted to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how gentle, sweet, and warmhearted the telling of the real Winnie's story is here and I appreciate the sensitivity with which the author portrayed the soldiers and their experience (we never see Harry in t ...more
Emily Scheinman
So much to love about Finding Winnie. I read this gem with my 9 year old son. He had so many questions and loved that it was based on a true story.
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Magical, kind,gentle; perfect potion for your soul. Take note of the little b&w sketches in the low corners, they speak beyond words.
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely book. Will work for children, but for also anyone of any age who has fond memories of Winnie-the-Pooh. I had no inkling of the story behind the iconic tales from A.A. Milne, but this lovely picture book gave me a richer sense of the reality behind the books that were such a part of my mother's childhood, my childhood, and my daughter's. It's so wonderful I'm planning on giving a copy to my 91-year old mother-in-law who not only is British by birth, but spent many years in Canada. M ...more
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Upon reflection, I wish I had read Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear without knowing the Winnie-the-Pooh connection ahead of time. I might have guessed from the title, but not necessarily, and the story would have felt more emotional if it had hit me as a surprise. As well-known as the book became in the year after its release, though, preserving that degree of secrecy was unlikely. Finding Winnie was awarded the 2016 Caldecott Medal, and in my opinion it's one of th ...more
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Finding Winnie: The True Story of the
World's Most Famous Bear
by Lindsay Mattick, Sophie Blackall

Before Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie.

In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear. He named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, and he took the bear to war.

Harry Colebourn's real-life great-granddaughter tells the true story of a remarkable friendship and an even more remarkable journey--from
Jackie Marrs
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Well that was ridiculously adorable. What a fantastic story.
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The true story of the Black Bear that inspired the Winnie-the-Pooh stories.

Veterinarian Harry Colebourn purchased the bear cub for $20 off a trapper while he was in route to serve in World War I. He named the Bear Winnipeg, Winnie for short, and she soon became the mascot of his regiment. When she grew too large to travel with the soldiers, Harry helped Winnie find a new home at the London Zoo where she would soon meet a young Christopher Robin and inspire a whole series of books.

The story is w
Rachel Placchetti
Jan 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: kidlit
The true story of Winnie the Pooh and the humans who loved her. Framed as a bedtime story, the text is fine enough but Blackall's illustrations are stunning. The back matter is appropriately detailed for grades K-3 and includes many photographs of the real life Winnie, Christopher Robin, and Harry Colebourn.

I'll admit that I think this story is a tragedy, and that the real Winnie suffered immensely - especially in that awful concrete zoo enclosure. As a librarian, I love hearing the stories beh
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-books
One of the most charming, beautiful, wonderful picture books I've ever had the privilege of reading. I'm highly interested in Winnie for three reasons:

1) I'm Canadian.
2) I quite like the movie 'A Bear Named Winnie'
3) My family's nickname for my youngest brother is 'Winnie the Pooh' and we buy him lots of the Disney version merch, but it's good to have IRL stuff lying around the house as well.

Entrancingly written, with lovely illustrations, plenty of heart (I teared up!), and awesome photos at th
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully detailed illustrations accompany the admittedly sentimental story of how the bear, who inspired the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, was found at a train station by Captain Harry Colebourn in Ontario, on his way to Europe because of WWI.
I hadn't realized the author had a personal connection to the material till close to the end of the book, when she says she's the great granddaughter of Colebourn. There were some really neat diary entries from Harry Colebourn, and photos of the bear. The his
Victor The Reader
Based on a true story, A moving and beautiful story of a rescued infant bear during WW1 and how it would be an inspiration to others. Winnie’s journey is endearing with a warm fuzzy feeling. A (100%/Outstanding)
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Readers Who Enjoy Tales of People & Their Animal Friends / Winnie-the-Pooh Fans
A young mother, appealed to for a bedtime story, tells the tale of Harry Coleburn, a Canadian veterinarian who adopts an orphaned young bear cub on his way to serve in World War I. Named Winnie, in honor of Coleburn's hometown of Winnipeg, the cub soon becomes a beloved mascot for the entire regiment, settling admirably into military life, and lifting the spirits of all the men. Traveling with them across the sea to England, Winnie continues to grow. When Harry Coleburn discovers that he is soon ...more
Michael Fitzgerald
Apr 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Definitely NOT worthy of a Caldecott medal. The illustrations are just ugly and amateurish, as if the artist doesn't know how to do perspective properly or how to draw human (or animal) figures. Now, the story itself is fine, and I can see how the unexpected twist makes it appealing, but that's not what the Caldecott is about. I do very much wish they had found a better illustrator for it. ...more
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals, nonfiction
A sweet, sentimental and true story of the real bear who inspired the Winnie-the-Pooh character. The story within a story worked surprisingly well to move the plot along and to bridge the nonfiction real bear with the fictional character. Loved the "Album" at the end with all the real photos. Also, I cried. ...more
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
After enjoying Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh I wasn't sure if I could judge Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear objectively. But I must say, this does not suffer in comparison. It is longer, which makes it better for older children. It's more poetic and literary. And (yay!) it was written by a descendant of Winnie's first best friend, Harry. Even though I do have a bit of a problem with the ideas of zoos and wild animals as pets, in th ...more
Joyce Yattoni
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A historical fiction picture book about a bear who was the inspiration for the creation of Winnie the Poo by A.A. Milne. The illustrations are beautiful and the photos of the primary sources at the end of the story are clear and so neat to read. Perfect mentor text for a historical fiction unit.
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Lindsay Mattick is the author of Finding Winnie, a new picture book which explores her family’s unique connection to the world’s most famous bear, Winnie-the-Pooh. Born in Winnipeg, Lindsay spent her summer days collecting lucky stones on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, finding adventures in her red wagon. As the great-granddaughter of Captain Harry Colebourn, Lindsay grew up thinking of Winnie as he ...more

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