Finding Winnie – The story of the real bear who inspired Winnie The Pooh

As if we didn’t love Winnie The Pooh enough, knowing that he was inspired by a real female bear who was as sweet as his precious honey, will make us fall in love with Milne’s stories even more.

Finding Winnie is a new picture book telling the true story of the bear who inspired Winnie The Pooh. It is written by Harry Colebourn’s real-life great-granddaughter Lindsay Mattick who felt the need to tell this fantastic family tale to her son Cole.

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

In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian who was ready to service in World War 1, rescued a baby bear and called her Winnie. Then he took her to war. A remarkable friendship started between the bear who became a docile pet and a companion to Harry from the fields of Canada to an army base in England. Winnie was so extraordinarily friendly that she became a favourite with the troops.

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When Colebourn was shipped over to France, he could not keep Winnie (whose name reminded him to his hometown of Winnipeg), so he handed her over to London Zoo, where Winnie made another new friend – a boy named Christopher Robin who was the son of AA Milne.

His plan was to bring her back to Canada after the war, but then he saw how much children loved visiting her at the zoo and he decided to donate her permanently.

Finding Winnie - The story of the real bear who inspired Winnie The Pooh 1

The story of Winnie and Harry and Christopher Robin is so incredible that it could have well been come from AA Milne’s pen. But, as you can see, there are plenty of well preserved photos that document this wonderful true story.

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A curious fact is that in AA Milne’s books Winnie the Pooh is a boy and in the Disney cartoons his voice has always been provided by a man, while the real Winnie bear was actually a very docile female black bear.

Christopher Robin, son of AA Milne and star of the books and cartoons, named his own teddy bear Winnie, after seeing the actual bear several times at the London Zoo.

People who love Winnie the Pooh will enjoy Finding Winnie, which includes the beautiful illustrations by Sophie Blackall as well as prints of the original photographs.

We will never read and watch Winnie the Pooh in the same way and I personally cannot wait for the film based on this story to come out. Film rights have already been sold.

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