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Winnie the Bear – the Origins of Winnie the Pooh

I knew that A.A. Milne’s beloved, simple bear Winnie the Pooh was named after Manitoba’s capital city, Winnipeg, and that there was indeed a real bear – a black bear from Canada who ended up at a zoo in London, England – who went by that name. But apparently, the whole backstory is interesting.

In Winnipeg author M.A. Appleby wrote a book about the origins of Winnie, called Winnie the Bear. Appleby’s father was a close friend of the son of Harry Colebourn, the Canadian Lieutenant and veterinarian who adopted the beloved black bear cub in World War I.

From the author’s web site:

Winnie the Bear follows the life of one Canadian black bear cub from her adoption in 1914 by Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian, to becoming a celebrated star at the London Zoo. Her many admirers at the Zoo included A. A. Milne and his young son Christopher, who adored Winnie and gave her a unique name. Appleby takes us along to discover the inspirational role of Winnie the Bear in A. A. Milne’s creation of the much loved character Winnie-the-Pooh.

I love that this little black bear cub and the little boy who loved her enough to name his teddy after her inspired one of the most iconic and well-known characters in children’s literature – not to mention collectible.

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Beth Carswell

About Beth Carswell

I've been reading, selling, researching, loving and writing about books with AbeBooks since 2000.

2 Responses to “Winnie the Bear – the Origins of Winnie the Pooh”

  1. There was a documentary movie made about Winnie. Kind of reminded me of the TV series “Gentle Ben” back in the ’80s. Any way this documentary was really heart warming, and well worth watching if you can.

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