Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall is the HDSB Reads selection for 2016. This week our Grade 1 to 8 students had the chance to hear this touching story. Finding Winnie is essentially two stories in one. The first is the story of Captain Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Harry enlists in the army to look after horses that are fighting in World War One. On his was to the front, Harry’s train stops in White River, Ontario where he meets and purchases an adorable bear cub whom he subsequently names Winnie. Winnie becomes the mascot for the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade. Eventually Harry realizes that the trenches are no place for Winnie and the London Zoo becomes Winnie’s adoptive home. The second story is the story of Christopher Robin Milne. He meets Winnie for the first time at the London Zoo. Christopher and Winnie develop a special relationship and it’s this relationship that inspired Christopher's father (A. A. Milne) to write the Winnie the Pooh books.
One of the most amazing parts of Finding Winnie is the photo album at the end of the story. Pictures include Captain Harry Colebourn and his fellow soldiers, the Winnipeg statue of Harry and Winnie and even Christopher Robin in Winnie’s enclosure at the London Zoo feeding and playing with Winnie.
The author of Finding Winnie, Lindsay Mattick, is Captain Harry Colebourn's great-granddaugter. She wrote Finding Winnie to explain the story of Winnie the bear to her son, Cole, who was named after Captain Harry Colebourn.
This week the Winnie mascot is visiting the students of Pilgrim Wood. Stop by the Library if you would like to see the mascot or take a picture of her before she leaves.
Special thanks to Library Services for the HDSB Reads program and the Winnie mascot!