Tag Archives: Sophie Blackall

Love, friendship and Winnie-the-Pooh

16 Nov

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I’ve written before about Winnie-the-Pooh’s  Canadian connection.

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear is an interesting twist on the story. It is written by the great-granddaughter of Captain Harry Colebourn, Lindsay Mattick,  the Canadian soldier who adopted the baby bear who later took up residence in the London Zoo and befriended Christopher Robin Milne.

The story is framed as a tale, told by the author to her son, Cole, named for his great-great-grandfather. Like Christopher Robin in the Pooh stories, Cole’s voice is part of this story, asking questions and helping move the story along.  This is a deceptively simple story, which delivers a factual story in a very engaging manner.

Sophie Blackall’s illustrations elevate the is lovely story. She has a lovely series of four blog posts that talk about the process and research  she went through to make historically accurate illustrations.

Here is my favorite page, where Winnipeg the bear captures the heart of Colebourn’s Colonel by standing up in his hind legs as if in salute. The Colonel simply says, “Oh hallo.” And she (yes the real Winnie was a she) became the company’s mascot.

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Working together, Mattick and Blackall have really made clear the deep affection Colebourn and Winnie shared.

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“Love is taking a few steps backward maybe even more… to give way to the happiness of the person you love.”

Family History

11 May

My Aunt Dorothy is the family genealogist. She has traced my ancestors past the first Gillespie’s in my family tree to come to Canada, back through all the people in England and Ireland, into the early 1700’s.

IN his new book, My Family Tree and Me,  Dušan Petričić provides a beautifully simple introduction to the concept of family ancestry.

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Front Cover               Back Cover

It uses two stories in one to explore a small boy’s family tree: the boy tells the family story of his father’s side starting from the front of the book, and that of his mother’s side starting from the back of the book. Four previous generations are introduced for each, from his great-great-grandparents to his parents. The grand finale in the center of the book reveals the boy’s entire extended family, shown in one drawing with all the members from both sides identified by their relationship to him.

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Along the similar lines is A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, ONe Delicious Treat, written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

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This is a story about blackberry fool and how the making of the delicious dessert has changed, and remained the same, over four centuries.

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While not exactly a work of history, it is historical fiction and reminded me of the family history project we had the kids do when I last taught 7th grade. This would be a great mentor text for this kind of project because it clearly shows the connection between past and present, what has changed and what has stayed the same.

Both of these books would be excellent introductions to some aspect of family history, whether for a school project or just personal curiosity. Every family has its story to tell.

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