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Finding Winnie: The Story of the Real Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh
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Finding Winnie: The Story of the Real Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh

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4.51  ·  Rating details ·  6,465 ratings  ·  1,800 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-granddaught

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Hardcover, 56 pages
Published November 5th 2015 by Orchard Books/Hachette Childrens (first published October 20th 2015)
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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.
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4.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,465 ratings  ·  1,800 reviews


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Philip
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Calista
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
Betsy
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jessica
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!
Hilary
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Amanda
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 story t ...more
Laura
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, childrens
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
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Manybooks
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
Danielle
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
This book. That bear. Quotable, full of love and history, and a feat of story within story.
Kathryn
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mel
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magical, kind,gentle; perfect potion for your soul. Take note of the little b&w sketches in the low corners, they speak beyond words.
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.
Anmiryam
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jo
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jackie Marrs
Well that was ridiculously adorable. What a fantastic story.
Lata
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Eva
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Samantha
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
...more
Rachel
Jan 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Josiah
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Michael Fitzgerald
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.
Lizzie
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, animals
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.
Cheryl
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sandy
So, so, so good. Now I get why there was so much hullabaloo about FINDING WINNIE. It was charming, beautifully told and it gave my heart a mushy, warm feeling. Definitely worth adding to your collection--whether it's at work or for your personal library.
Autumn
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-books
The book is wonderful! The story is fantastic. There is something about the illustrations that I find comforting and familiar.
Gary Anderson
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I preferred Sally M. Walker's telling of Winnie's story, as well as its illustrations, this version has an irresistible ending.
Beth
Brian Wyzlic read this aloud to Kevin English and me and Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis and it was magical.
Ellison
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Told by the great grand daughter of a Canadian soldier who discovers a BEAR cub for sale at a train station and pays $20 as a rescue. He takes it to training where it sleeps under his cot.

When WWI heats up he is able to get it on the ship with the animals. He decides to leave it at the London Zoo. A young boy with an author father visit and the boy is aloud to befriend the virtually tame bear. The father writes stories about the bear and his boy's adventures, Winnie the Pooh. touching and beauti
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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
“Then his heart made up his mind.” 5 likes
“Sometimes...you have to let one story end so the next one can begin.” 0 likes
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