Tag Archives: Winnie the Pooh

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.”

Winnie the Pooh’s Canadian Connection

19 Feb

Unknown

Harry Colebourn was a Canadian veterinarian from Winnipeg, though he was born in England. When WWI broke out, like many, he was sent to England first. On the train across Canada, he saw a baby bear in a train Station in White River, Ontario, on the north-eastern side of Lake Superior. He bought the bear for $20, named him after his hometown, and took him on the troop train. Once in London, Harry realized he couldn’t really keep the bear, so he donated it to the London Zoo, where, a little boy named Christopher Robin Milne, loved to come and visit. The rest, is history.

This book is a beautifully written and the illustrations by Jonathon D. Voss are gorgeous,  softly bleeding into the white space surrounding it.

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The endpapers have old, captioned photos of Winnie, Coleburn and Christopher Robin Milne. The Author’s Note at the end gives more specific details on the lives of Harry Colebourn and Winnie and provides sources for further investigation. All around an excellent book.

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