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Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh

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9780805097153: Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh
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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.

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About the Author:

Sally M. Walker is the author of the ALA Notable Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917. She is also the author of Written in Bone, Fossil Fish Found Alive, and Secrets of a Civil War Submarine, which was awarded a Sibert Medal. She lives in Illinois.

Jonathan D. Voss was a portrait artist and graphic designer before becoming a children's book illustrator. He lives in North Carolina with his family. Winnie is his first book.

From School Library Journal:

Gr 1–2—Readers will be captivated by this picture book account of the bear who inspired the "Winnie-the-Pooh" series. Walker tells the story of Harry Colebourn, a World War I soldier who came upon a man selling a baby bear at a train station (he had shot the cub's mother) and decided to adopt the animal. A veterinarian, Colebourn quickly became attached to the little bear he named Winnie (short for Winnipeg, Manitoba, Colebourn's company's hometown), who accompanied the soldier to a training camp in Quebec and became a favorite of the entire regiment. Winnie even went with the company to England when more soldiers were needed across the Atlantic. When Colebourn was sent into battle, he took Winnie to the London Zoo, where she was so gentle and tame that zookeepers sometimes let children ride on her back. There, Milne's young son, Christopher Robin, met her and fell in love, motivating Milne to pen the "Winnie-the-Pooh" books. Sweet, realistic illustrations, rendered in watercolor with pen and ink, lend the work an old-fashioned air, while a simple but gentle narrative provides readers with a sense of the emotional connection between Winnie and Colebourn. Back matter offers brief material on Colebourn, Winnie, black bears in general, and Milne's writings, as well as photographs of Winnie and Christopher Robin. Children will enjoy this interesting insight into the real story behind a beloved bear they already know so well.—April Sanders, Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL

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