Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh
About the Book
During World War I, while traveling to a military camp in Canada, veterinarian Harry Colebourn purchased an orphaned bear cub. He had no idea that his gentle bear would become one of the most famous bears in literature.
Behind the Book
When Harry bought Winnie at the White River train station in Ontario, Canada, she was six to seven months old. Winnie died on May 12,1934 at the age of twenty. News of her death and her connection to Winnie-the-Pooh were reported in newspapers in England, Canada, and the United States.
Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne, was published in 1926; a sequel, The House at Pooh Corner, came out in 1928. Milne also wrote two books of poetry in which Winnie-the-Pooh appears: When We Were Very Young (1924) and Now We Are Six (1927). According to Milne, Christopher Robin gave the name “Pooh” to a swan he once knew. When the swan flew off and made its home elsewhere, the name remained behind, unused. Therefore, it was available to combine with “Winnie” when Christopher Robin needed it.
Awards and Recognition
- Amazon.com Best Books of the Year
- Arizona Young Readers Award 2018
- CCBC Choices (University of Wisconsin) 2016
- New York Young Reader Award 2018
- Nebraska Golden Sower Award Master List 2018
- Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award Master List 2017–2018
- Wyoming Buckaroo Award finalist 2015–2016
“Beautifully illustrated with humanistic, old-fashioned washes, Walker’s true tale is a low-key heart warmer about an unexpected interspecies bond.” (Booklist)
“Readers will be captivated by the fictionalized picture book account of the bear that eventually became the inspiration for A.A. Milne’s acclaimed “Winnie-the-Pooh” series.” (School Library Journal)
“Ideal for Winnie the Pooh fans, this clear, straightforward biography reveals the bear behind the tale.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Walker’s short, descriptive text provides the essentials of the story, and Voss’s watercolor illustrations portray the unusual situation with a mix of realism and humor.” (The Horn Book)
“This is an intriguing and well-written look at a different era….Voss’ watercolor and pen and ink illustrations paint a casual and affectionate portrait of man and bear.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)