Friday 30 October 2015

ReadItDaddy's First Book of the Week - Week Ending 30th October 2015 - "Finding Winnie, The Story of the Real Bear who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh" by Lindsay Mattick and Sophie Blackall (Orchard Books)

We love it when you delve into a book expecting to find one thing, but come away with something entirely different. Our Book of the Week this week is "Finding Winnie" by Lindsay Mattick and Sophie Blackall...
I remember my first copy of "The House at Pooh Corner". For a 7 year old who was already firmly entranced by the likes of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein it was a tough sell, partly because in my 7-year-old mind, Winnie the Pooh was always that bumbling buffoon depicted in the Disney movies.

Of course, reading the book, you're soon entwined in a story that none of the movies have ever really captured successfully, wrapped up in the imagination of A.A. Milne and living through the adventures of Christopher Robin, Pooh, Pigley, Eeyore and all the others.

I already knew that Christopher Robin was inspired by A.A. Milne's own son, but what of Pooh himself? Was he really inspired by Christopher's favourite cuddly toy - or was the true story of Pooh something entirely different? Here's your chance to find out in this utterly dazzling story of the real Winnie - a black bear adopted by a soldier at the outbreak of World War 1.

Winnie and Captain Colebourn. Could that be a jar of honey, perhaps?
The soldier in question was Harry Colebourn, a vet who set out on his way to help tend horses in World War 1, who ended up adopting a black bear cub and naming her Winnie.  The story is written by his great grand-daughter, and tells how Harry took the bear cub off to war - for Winnie to become a much loved companion and troop mascot. Stretching from the wilds of Canada to an army base in England, and eventually to London Zoo where Winnie finally met a little boy named Christopher Robin, the amazing tale is gripping from start to finish.

Complimented by Sophie Blackall's wonderful illustrations, the illustrated children's story within these gorgeous pages is truly only half the story. Right at the end of the book you get to peek into a glorious photo album, collected images of the real Winnie herself and of course a brilliant photo of Christopher Robin at London Zoo with Winnie that many folk will recognise as the original inspiration for the illustrations in A.A. Milne's books (if you look very closely at the photo, you'll see the man himself watching his son playing with Winnie).

Winnie and Christopher Robin at London Zoo

There are lots more amazing things to learn about Winnie and Captain Colebourn's adventures, so we'll let you find out more for yourselves. This book is utterly amazing and children will not only love the story it imparts, but they'll be absolutely enthralled by the true story that inspired this and of course A.A. Milne's books.

Charlotte's favourite bit: Browsing through the amazing photographs at the back of the book of real-life Winnie and Captain Colebourn

Daddy's favourite bit: Utterly dazzling storytelling and an amazing real-life inspiration for a collection of well-loved classics. Unmissable!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Orchard Books)

"Finding Winnie - The story of the real bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh"

Written by Lindsay Mattick

Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Published by Orchard Books

Publication Date (Hardback): 5th November 2015