"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Review: WINNIE, The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker (C)

by Sally M. Walker
Illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss
Release date: January 20th, 2015
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. (Macmillan)
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Format: Hardcover, eBook
Format read: ARC from the publisher. 


Who could care for a bear?

When Harry Colebourn saw a baby bear for sale at the train station, he knew he could care for it. Harry was a veterinarian. But he was also a soldier in training for World War I. Harry named the bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, his company’s home town, and he brought her along to the training camp in England. Winnie followed Harry everywhere and slept under his cot every night. Before long, she became the regiment’s much-loved mascot.

But who could care for the bear when Harry had to go to the battleground in France? 

Harry found just the right place for Winnie while he was away — the London Zoo. 

There a little boy named Christopher Robin came along and played with Winnie — he could care for this bear too!

Sally Walker’s heartwarming story, paired with Jonathan Voss’s evocative illustrations, brings to life the story of the real bear who inspired Winnie the Pooh.


I always knew that Winnie-the-Pooh was inspired by a real bear, but I never knew the actual story about how that bear came to inspire A.A. Milne's book. Told in a story format for all children to understand and enjoy, we learn about where the bear was found, how she was loved and brought to England, and how the famous author came to meet her.

During a quick train stop, Harry sees a bear and needs to know why there is a bear on a leash on the platform. He immediately runs off the train to see. And ends up buying the bear and bringing it with him to army training camp.
I don't think Harry, who names the bear Winnipeg, ever thought that he would be caring for a bear while taking of the army's horses during the war. And especially never could have foreseen how she would change everyone's lives, bring so much love and joy to those around her and would later go on to become one of the most famous bears in the world.

What my kids and I enjoyed the most is being able to see black and white photos of Harry, Winnie and other persons mentioned in the book. Along with the grand illustrations, which were precise with age and historical aspects, Winnie's story not only came to life for us, but it felt like we were there, alongside all the characters, discovering this sweet little bear and the world around her.

This is the perfect book for all who love Pooh, history and, also, those with lively imaginations that will allow them to hop on the train with Harry and Winnie and experience a wonderful adventure.

*An ARC was sent to me from the publisher for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Sally M. Walker

Sally M. Walker has written science books for children, including Earthquakes, an NSTA/CBC Best Science Trade Book of 1997. 
She lives in DeKalb, IL.

1 comment:

  1. I didn’t know that Winnie the Pooh was based on a real bear! I just finished Winnie the Pooh with my kids and I think they will love this.


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