Interesting

The True Story of the Real-Life Winnie-the-Pooh

The True Story of the Real-Life Winnie-the-Pooh


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With bells ringing and brakes squealing, a trainload of men in crisp military uniforms pulled into the small lumber town of White River, Ontario, on August 24, 1914. In need of fresh air and a stretch of his legs after a long day on the rails, Lieutenant Harry Colebourn descended the steps of his railcar onto the station platform when an unusual sight caught his eye—a black bear cub no more than seven months old at the end of a leash held by a trapper seeking to attract the attention of a willing buyer.

In the 27-year-old Canadian soldier, the trapper found the perfect customer. Born in Birmingham, England, Colebourn had always loved animals. At the age of 18, he emigrated to Canada to study veterinary surgery. After graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1911, Colebourn settled in the prairie boomtown of Winnipeg to take a job with the Department of Agriculture. Days after the launch of World War I, the young veterinary officer with the Fort Garry Horse cavalry regiment was among the first to enlist and depart Winnipeg for the military training camp at Valcartier, Quebec.

During the brief stopover in White River, Colebourn scooped the little bear into his arms as the trapper explained that he had killed her mother but couldn’t do the same to the orphaned cub. The captured bear quickly captured the soldier’s heart. The cavalry veterinarian purchased the cuddly cub for $20 and returned to the train with his new pet, which he named “Winnipeg” in tribute to his hometown.

During the weeks Colebourn spent training with other members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force at Valcartier, the bear he nicknamed “Winnie” proved a trusty companion. Harry trained Winnie with rewards of apples and a mixture of condensed milk and corn syrup. The cub slept under his cot and followed him around like a puppy. When not climbing tent poles or playing with her owner, the gentle bear posed for photographs with soldiers and became the regiment’s mascot.

In early October, Colebourn boarded the military transport S.S. Manitou with Winnie in tow as he sailed to England for additional instruction. After seven weeks of training on the Salisbury Plain, the veterinary officer received the call to the Western Front. The trenches of France were hardly a place for a man—let alone a bear—so on December 9, 1914, Colebourn brought Winnie to her new home at the London Zoo, which had just opened a new bear habitat that resembled a mountain landscape. Before parting, the soldier promised to bring Winnie back to Canada once the war was over, which he hoped would be a matter of months.

There would be no quick end to World War I, however, and Colebourn witnessed the horrible carnage firsthand. On one occasion, he narrowly avoided being hit by a shell that exploded just yards away. At a time when horses were still critical military assets, Colebourn and the other members of the Royal Canadian Army Veterinary Corps provided a vital service by protecting them from disease and helping them heal from bullet and shrapnel wounds.

Whenever he received a coveted leave from the front, Colebourn visited Winnie in her new home. Although she had grown from cub into bear, Winnie remained as gentle as ever. Zookeeper Ernest Sceales told a London newspaper in 1933 that Winnie was “quite the tamest and best behaved bear we have ever had at the zoo.” Children were even allowed to enter the bear pit to ride on Winnie’s back or feed her out of their hands.

Weeks after the guns finally fell silent in November 1918, Colebourn reunited with Winnie. In spite of his promise at the start of the war, however, the soldier could not take the black bear back to Canada. He knew that his pet no longer belonged to him, but to the people of London. After saying his final good-bye to Winnie, Colebourn returned to Winnipeg, where he continued to work for the Department of Agriculture and opened a small animal hospital in the rear of his house.

Among the children of London who continued to be smitten by Winnie in the coming years was a young boy named Christopher Robin Milne who repeatedly begged his father, author A.A. Milne, to take him to the zoo where he fed spoonfuls of condensed milk to the friendly black bear in between big, furry hugs. Christopher Robin grew so fond of the London Zoo’s star attraction that he changed his teddy bear’s name from “Edward” to “Winnie the Pooh,” an amalgamation of the black bear’s name and a moniker he had bestowed upon a swan he used to feed in the morning.

Winnie the Pooh and other stuffed animals in Christopher Robin’s nursery—including Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Tigger—served as inspiration for his father’s most enduring writings. A.A. Milne had been a prolific playwright, screenwriter, detective novelist and contributor to the humor magazine Punch when he first brought the character Winnie-the-Pooh to life in his 1924 book of children’s poetry, “When We Were Very Young.” That was followed by the publication of a full volume of stories, “Winnie-the-Pooh,” in 1926. A sequel, “The House at Pooh Corner,” was released two years later. Like Colebourn, Milne had served in World War I, and the idyllic setting of the 100-Acre Wood was a welcome sanctuary from the horrors of the Western Front that remained fresh in his mind and those of many readers in the 1920s.

The success of Milne’s books made Winnie more famous than ever. When she passed away in 1934 at the age of 20, her death made news around the world. Winnie was so notable that her skull was sent to the Royal College of Surgeons, where it was placed on display last year for the first time. Statues at both the London Zoo and Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo of Colebourn holding the hands of Winnie as she stands on her hind legs also offer reminders of the bond between a Canadian soldier and a black bear cub that led to the creation of a literary classic.


10 Facts About The Real Christopher Robin Behind Winnie-The-Pooh

Before Disney and Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real Christopher Robin: a young boy with a teddy bear. He was author A.A. Milne&rsquos son, and he and his stuffed bear &ldquoWinnie&rdquo would inspire one of the greatest children&rsquos characters ever conceived.

It sounds idyllic&mdasha father turning his son into a character beloved by children around the world&mdashbut becoming a celebrity when he was just six years old wrecked Christopher Robin Milne&rsquos life. The true story of the real Christopher Robin wasn&rsquot a story of a whimsy, magic, and the joys of childhood. It was a dark, strange story, full of moments that&rsquoll never show up in any Disney movie.


When Winnie-the-Pooh ran into trouble on a Canadian stamp | CBC Archives

Normally, Winnie-the-Pooh's problems don't occur beyond the edges of Hundred Acre Wood. And they typically involve him…

Midday co-host Brent Bambury further pressed the Canada Post spokesperson if they had anticipated criticism from “Canadian nationalists,” McGurrin admitted the postal service had expected some pushback.

“We did, and at the same time, we hoped that we would be able to explain our situation … and I believe that we have a very firm footing with the fact that we’re repatriating the bear,” said McGurrin​.

“We’re bringing the bear’s legend back to Canada.”

How did the stamp public see it at the time? Well according to the Montreal Gazette, in an article from November 7th 1996, it was well received. As it notes, the stamps were very popular.

Tim McGurrin, spokesman for Canada Post noted ``It’s a very hot item,’’. Accessories are also sold. ``We’ve got T-shirts and sweatshirts. We have everything from Winnie-the-Pooh backpacks to fridge magnets available at participating postal outlets.’’

And what about those stamp collectors and dealers? How did they feel about the issue? Reporter Ken MacQueen from the same article noted the following:

Stamp dealers aren’t as critical. Last week, a Maryland-based company, International Collectors Society, placed a quarter-page advertisement in The New York Times under the headline: “Disney Winnie the Pooh Postage Stamps Incite Collector Stamp-ede.’’ It is selling the stamps for $12.95 (U.S., including postage and handling) to collectors of very little brain.

The Pooh stamp, the ad claims, “will be far more sought after, and be more desirable, than the U.S. Elvis stamp, the most popular stamp of all time.’’

Ottawa stamp dealer Ian Kimmerly calls this claim “hyperbole.’’ Kimmerly sells the same sheet of Poohs for its face value of $1.80 Canadian plus tax. “We’ve sold around $1,000 worth, which for us, is a phenomenal number of a single new issue.’’

Kimmerly figures Canada Post strikes a good balance between highly commercial stamps, such as this, and stamps of historical or aesthetic significance. Such stamps attract the non-collector into his Sparks St. shop, just as a “Collectors Month’’ issue should, he says. “Maybe if we sell 100 sets, one person will become a stamp collector.’’

So where do things stand now almost 25 years later? The stamps are still very popular, with numerous listings on eBay. With 30 million stamps out there, everyone in Canada could own one. So they certainly aren’t rare but nonetheless, when I am showing my friends my collection, who are non stamp collectors, this is always the stamp they stop to admire.

In terms of the controversy, personally I think it fulfilled an educational purpose of showing the origins of Winnie the Pooh, and celebrating how a little Canadian Black Bear became the inspiration for one of the most beloved characters ever created. This is something Canadians can be proud of and a story which belongs on our stamps.


Book Excerpt: Finding Winnie

By Lindsay Mattick with illustrations by Sophie Blackall

Winnie was in the army now. Harry taught her to stand up straight and hold her head high and turn this way and that, just so!

Soon, she was assigned her own post. Even the Colonel agreed that Winnie was a Remarkable Bear. She might have been the best navigator in the whole army.

If you hid something, could she find it? She could! What if it was father away? And farther still? “Remarkable!” he cried.

Excerpted from the book FINDING WINNIE: THE TRUE STORY OF THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS BEAR by Lindsay Mattick. Copyright © 2015 by Lindsay Mattick with illustrations by Sophie Blackall. Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Used by permission of the publisher.


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The bear which inspired Winnie the Pooh is actually a girl

He is referred to as "he" in AA Milne's books and in the Disney cartoons his voice has always been provided by a man.

But, it turns out that the real-life bear he is named after, was actually a female black bear named Winnie.

Christopher Robin, son of AA Milne and star of the books and cartoons, had called his teddy Winnie, having seen the actual bear a number of times in London Zoo.

Author Lindsay Mattick has told the story of the Canadian bear in her new book Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear. The film rights have already been sold.

Her great-grandfather, Harry Colebourn, rescued Winnie in 1914 and named her for his hometown of Winnipeg, Canada.

Colebourn was a vet and and travelled to England to help care for horses during the First World War.

He brought Winnie with him and she became a favourite with the troops.

When Colebourn was shipped over to France, he sent Winnie to stay at London Zoo. He always planned to bring her back to Canada, but when he saw how much children loved visiting her at the zoo, he donated her permanently.

"I'm still blown away that, while a lot of people in Canada certainly know the story and know the history now, around the world it's really still not known," Ms Mattick told Winnipeg Free Press.

"People don't even realize that there was a real bear.

"I want people who love Winnie the Pooh to understand that the real story behind her is just as beautiful and just as amazing."

Follow @BBCNewsbeat on Twitter, BBCNewsbeat on Instagram, Radio1Newsbeat on YouTube and you can now follow BBC_Newsbeat on Snapchat


Why the world can’t accept the answer to what gender is Winnie the Pooh?

So, let’s break the suspense, once and for all. When it comes to what gender is Winnie the Pooh, the answer is shockingly fascinating. Everyone’s favorite fuzzy bear is a girl.

Yes, it’s an intriguing revelation that has many turning heads like never before. And when the answer was revealed, it’s no wonder why shockwaves were sent across the board.

Many people called it a public service announcement. After all, the yellow bear is one of childhood’s most adored characters. Hence, it’s no surprise why the revelation rocked the world. But wait for a second, there’s more to the story.

The true facts of the matter are that Winnie the Pooh is in fact, actually a female. However, in books and movies, when you delve into details, you’ll find out that he’s a boy. Hence, we did our homework and dug up the show’s past, to find out what the matter is all about.


The story of the real Winnie the Pooh

TORONTO -- When Lindsay Mattick was expecting her son Cole, she knew one day she'd want to share some family history with him.

Lindsay Mattick CBS News

So she wrote a book about a soldier and a bear.

"My great-grandfather's story was not famous. It was not known." But without his story, there is no Winnie the Pooh.

Harry Colebourn was her great-grandfather's name, and Winnipeg was his hometown. He was a veterinarian on his way to ship out for World War I when his train stopped in a small Canadian town.

"He gets off the train and there's a hunter there. And the hunter has killed a bear and he's selling the cubs for $20."

He bought a young female cub, named her after his hometown, and took her across the Atlantic with him. "Winnie" became the mascot for Harry's regiment.

Harry Colebourn and the real-life Winnie Lindsay Mattick

That was fine while training in England, but when it came time to head to the front lines in France, he took Winnie to a zoo in London. He knew he had to keep Winnie safe.

Trending News

"He planned to get Winnie at the end of the war, but clearly the war lasted four years and he realized at that point she had a new home," Mattick said.

And did she ever -- she'd become a star attraction at the London zoo.

Disney

"She did have a remarkable temperament. London zookeepers would let children inside her enclosure to play," Mattick explained.

Among the kids entranced by Winnie was a boy named Christopher Robin. His father, A.A. Milne, began writing children's stories about Christopher and Winnie.

Milne may have made the character famous, but Harry Colebourn made it possible, as Lindsay Mattick's book "Finding Winnie" shows us.

Little, Brown

"That's powerful to know -- that something you do in a moment can go on to have these incredible huge ripple effects that you never could even have imagined."

In all her many versions, Winnie's been making life sweeter for kids for nearly a century now. Not a bad return on a $20-dollar investment.

First published on March 21, 2016 / 7:49 PM

© 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Jim Axelrod is the chief investigative correspondent and senior national correspondent for CBS News, reporting for "CBS This Morning," "CBS Evening News," "CBS Sunday Morning" and other CBS News broadcasts.


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

Winnie&aposs favorite game was hide-and-seek-biscuits.

Using her long claws, she pulled hidden biscuits from Harry&aposs pockets.

"Good girl!" Harry praised when she succeeded.

I was fascinated to read about the real bear that Winnie-the-Pooh was based on. She was a black bear who Harry Colebourn, a Canadian military veterinarian, bought at a railway station for 20 dollars when she was six months old. Her mother was shot by a hunter and the old man couldn&apost bring himself to kill the cub.

Winnie quickly beca Winnie's favorite game was hide-and-seek-biscuits.

Using her long claws, she pulled hidden biscuits from Harry's pockets.

"Good girl!" Harry praised when she succeeded.

I was fascinated to read about the real bear that Winnie-the-Pooh was based on. She was a black bear who Harry Colebourn, a Canadian military veterinarian, bought at a railway station for 20 dollars when she was six months old. Her mother was shot by a hunter and the old man couldn't bring himself to kill the cub.

Winnie quickly became the mascot of Colebourn's section (group of soldiers). They'd walk her on a leash, feed her, and take pictures with her. She slept underneath Colebourn's cot.

Then the Canadian troops were called to England and they took Winnie along with them. She stayed in England training with the soldiers for seven weeks. But when the soldiers were ordered into combat in France, Colebourn knew that he couldn't take Winnie with him on the battlefield. He gave her to a British zoo where she was well-cared for and even gave children rides on her back.

When Winnie was 11, she meets Christopher Robin for the first time when A.A. Milne brought him to the zoo to see the animals. When Christopher Robin re-named his teddy after the bear, A.A. Milne started constructing stories focused on and around the bear Christopher Robin called "Winnie-the-Pooh."

After that, the real Winnie became very famous. She died at age 20 in 1934.

At the end of the book, there is an Author's Note which explains things in adult language and in much more detail. The book also offers a Works Cited at the end and suggests websites and books that will give you more information.

Will kids be interested in this book?

Yes. Winnie-the-Pooh is still HUGELY popular and it will blow kids' minds that he is based on a real, female bear. Who would not be enchanted by a story of a soldier adopting an orphaned bear cub at a train station and then taking her with him around the world as he prepares for war? Good stuff.

One of the highlights of this book are the front pages and end pages, which feature fascinating black-and-white photos of the real Winnie and the soldiers and children who loved her.

I don't really like the art. The illustrations are not really to my liking, but I'm picky.

However, the story is great and I think if a child has any interest in Winnie-the-Pooh, than she/he might like taking a whirl with this book.

I worked in close proximity to the real Winnie-the-Pooh for five years. From 2006 to 2011 he was a daily delight. To clarify, I was working alongside the original Winnie-the-Pooh toys owned by the real Christopher Robin, son of A.A. Milne in New York Public Library&aposs Central Children&aposs Room. We had Piglet, Tigger, Kanga (no Roo), Eeyore, and Winnie himself. Though ironically I never read his books as a child, in my time as a children’s librarian working in the Children’s Center at 42nd Street I I worked in close proximity to the real Winnie-the-Pooh for five years. From 2006 to 2011 he was a daily delight. To clarify, I was working alongside the original Winnie-the-Pooh toys owned by the real Christopher Robin, son of A.A. Milne in New York Public Library's Central Children's Room. We had Piglet, Tigger, Kanga (no Roo), Eeyore, and Winnie himself. Though ironically I never read his books as a child, in my time as a children’s librarian working in the Children’s Center at 42nd Street I became well versed in his story. Winnie was purchased at Harrods for Christopher Robin who eventually named him “Winnie” after some bear he’d seen in a zoo. If pressed to conjure up facts about that zoo bear I might have been able to tell you that its name was Winnipeg, but that was about as far as my knowledge on the matter went. Sometimes it takes a children’s book to learn about a children’s book character. Winnie: The True Story of the Bear That Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh relates the true history of a man and his bear. Illustrated with aplomb by Jonathan D. Voss, the book’s charm is the true measure by which you can assess how well it lives up to its namesake. Accuracy and adorableness in one small, furry package.

There are many things Harry Colebourn could have purchased as his troop passed through the small train station, but what did he end up with? A baby bear. A baby black bear, if you want to be precise about it. Good natured and orphaned, Harry promptly names her “Winnie” after his company’s hometown “Winnipeg” and she becomes the darling of his troop. When WWI calls his company across the wide ocean, Winnie comes along. But killing fields are no place for a baby bear so it’s to the London Zoo that Winnie goes. Once there, Harry promises her that when the war is done he’ll take her back to Winnipeg. It’s a promise he doesn’t keep. Upon his return Harry sees that Winnie is not only happy but a star of the zoo. She’s so gentle that children everywhere come to see her. Even a boy by the name of Christopher Robin . . . Copious photographs of the real Winnie and Harry grace the front endpapers while Christopher Robin graces the back. There is an additional Author's Note on Harry, Winnie, and black bears as well as a Bibliography of sources.

As I began reading the book I wondered if the story of Winnie would be akin to other military animal tales out there. Would Winnie aid the Allies much in the same way as Voytek in Poland or was she more of a mascot like Stubby? Neither, as it happens. Though Winnie did make it onto a boat headed for France, her keeper was smart enough to recognize that while some bears would thrive in a war zone (see: Voytek), Winnie was not one of them. Really she was just a baby and after seeing her playing and cuddling with Harry the thought of her existing in a place where bullets would fly is terrifying. This is a sweet wartime tale, perfect for reading to younger children who take things on face value and aren’t aware of what WWI really entailed.

The art of Jonathan D. Voss caught me by surprise. With just a half glance at the cover I initially though the illustrator was Amy June Bates (who illustrated the somewhat similar Christian the Hugging Lion back in 2010). An understandable mistake but once I actually went so far as to, oh I dunno LOOK at the book, I could see that Voss has a crisper line as well as a sure and steady grasp on the material. This being the first picture book that he has illustrated, he does a good job of making some really iconic images. The view on the cover of Harry hugging Winnie to his chest, as one might cuddle an infant, is downright heartwarming. Likewise the image of Winnie asleep under Harry’s cot as his long arm drapes down, his wrist bending in sleep, works. And if the four shots of Harry playing with Winnie were a YouTube video they’d get more hits than any other cute animal video to date. There is the occasional misstep, I’m afraid. A boy riding Winnie later in the book bears the slack-jawed look of a very small grown man and not a little boy. Indeed Voss appears to be most comfortable when Winnie is his focus. There’s not a single image where that bear doesn’t feel 100% authentic. One suspects the artist spent a great deal of time studying baby black bears and how they move. He also does a decent job of rendering the stuffed Pooh accurately. The arms are admittedly a bit long but the stance and nose are on target.

One objection I’ve heard to the story is that there isn’t enough Christopher Robin / real Winnie-the-Pooh info included in this story. I can see where this critic is coming from but I respectfully disagree. To my mind, Winnie’s story is fascinating in and of itself regardless of what famous literary character she ended up inspiring on some level. Hers is a story of tragedy turned to great good luck. Few orphaned bears in the WWI era would have found such a caring owner, let alone one that let them travel to Europe. Her life was notable at the time and makes for no less an interesting story today.

For my part, the book gets into tricky territory when we view the quoted dialog. Now Ms. Walker is a known entity. She does this stuff for a living. Wins big nonfiction awards like the Sibert for Secrets of a Civil War Submarine and the like. So when we get to a section where Harry is quoted saying “I’ll feed her condensed milk. She can stay with me in camp. Winnipeg can be our mascot,” then we have to naturally assume that the quote comes from one of the listed sources Walker provides at the back of the book. The quotes are not sourced but since Harry’s diary is one of those aforementioned sources, there’s a strong likelihood that the quotes come from there. I’m giving the book the benefit of the doubt in this matter, since faux dialog is the bane of the modern nonfiction picture book.

Read this book and few will wonder that after seeing Winnie in person, Christopher Robin wanted a bear of his very own. Indeed, the vast majority of children who are read Winnie may think to themselves (or say out loud) at some point, “When do I get my own?” Sorry, kids. If it’s any consolation you can see the Winnie-the-Pooh toys in the main New York Public Library location anytime the building is open. Maybe it won’t be the same as getting to ride a sweet bear in the zoo, but it’s still a part of this story on some level. Cute, not saccharine, and pleasing to boot, this is one story-behind-the-story kids will definitely appreciate. Lovers of Pooh welcome but not required.

While there is indeed very much to love and appreciate with regard to Sally M. Walker&aposs Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh (and I do absolutely love the combination of authentic photographs and Jonathan D. Voss&apos expressive accompanying illustrations, which while perhaps a tad too cartoon like at times, always manage to capture especially Winnie the bear in all of her many guises and emotions), considering that Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-th While there is indeed very much to love and appreciate with regard to Sally M. Walker's Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh (and I do absolutely love the combination of authentic photographs and Jonathan D. Voss' expressive accompanying illustrations, which while perhaps a tad too cartoon like at times, always manage to capture especially Winnie the bear in all of her many guises and emotions), considering that Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh is also and perhaps even first and foremost a story of WWI, of the so-called Great War, I am kind of feeling that the author has in no way adequately presented what WWI was, has not really sufficiently pointed out the horrors of what WWI truly signified. For while I of course did not expect to read minute details about Harry Colebourne's battle experiences in France, and while I guess the possible dangers of battle are at least mildly alluded to once or twice, I for one have been left with the rather painful feeling that the narrative really does not all that much show that the soldiers training to go to France to fight were in fact training to fight in Hell, that many did not return and many were scarred for life both physically and mentally (not to mention the battlefield animals, specially the horses).

Yes, the story of how Harry finds Winnie and how Winnie later ends up in a London zoo where she is noticed by author A.A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin and becomes the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh is sweetly engaging, but I most definitely have been a bit personally disappointed and even rather upset that Sally M. Walker basically does so very much gloss over the First World War, that she really does in no way portray it (and even in the otherwise excellent author's note at the back) as the horror, the all encompassing tragedy it represented (that even Winnie's sojourn as the quasi mascot of Harry Colebourne's unit whilst in training is somehow portrayed more as a fun and adventurous romp, with the potential dangers of battle only rather vaguely hinted at, and more with regard to Winnie the bear and not with regard to the soldiers who would be shipping off to fight in the trenches of France). And thus, only three stars for Winnie: The True Story of the Bear who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh, because while I can and do appreciate the author's and the illustrator's efforts and have indeed quite enjoyed the story (especially how Harry purchases Winnie as an orphaned bear cub to save her life and how she becomes the inspiration for A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh), the to and for me rather uncritical and almost nonchalant portrayal of WWI, leave a bit to be personally desired (although I would still tend to recommend Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh, but with the caveat that I do think that WWI has been approached in a rather trivial, unserious, laxly uncritical and actually almost accepting and condoning, promoting manner). . more

Most children (and adults, alike) don’t realize that the famous character Winnie the Pooh was based on a real-life bear named Winnipeg (Winnie for short). Winnie was cared for by a veterinarian and soldier during WWI, Harry Colebourn. Colebourn, being relocated to France, had to give Winnie to the London Zoo for caring which is where author A.A. Milne’s son Christopher Robin fell in love with the bear, inspired bed time stories, and the rest is history. Sally Walker brings this inspiration to li Most children (and adults, alike) don’t realize that the famous character Winnie the Pooh was based on a real-life bear named Winnipeg (Winnie for short). Winnie was cared for by a veterinarian and soldier during WWI, Harry Colebourn. Colebourn, being relocated to France, had to give Winnie to the London Zoo for caring which is where author A.A. Milne’s son Christopher Robin fell in love with the bear, inspired bed time stories, and the rest is history. Sally Walker brings this inspiration to life, with help from illustrations by Jonathan Voss in, “Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie the Pooh”.

“Winnie” is a simple, charming book perfect for a quick bedtime story for very young children (preschool and kindergarten) and those just learning to read. Although the story and prose are easy to understand Walker also provides substantial sentence structure making the story flow and captivating for children.

The wonderful thing about “Winnie” is its two-pronged success at entertaining Winnie the Pooh fans by teaching history and explaining the real-life inspiration behind the character while also showing children how to be loving, friendly, and a caretaker (based on the relationship between Harry and Winnie). This makes “Winnie” a positive lesson book and can even provide talking points on many echelons between parents and children.

Voss’s illustrations are somewhat ‘standard’ for children’s books in the usual watercolor paint style. However, the detail is inviting and sweet and thus fits the story quite well.

The ending of “Winnie” feels a bit abrupt and cut off but this is redeemed by the “Author’s Note” which presents real-life facts regarding Winnie and Harry. Sources are also listed while some authentic photos of Harry and Winnie grace the insides of the front and back covers.

“Winnie” is an easy-to-read charming book which sweetly explains to children the inspiration behind Winnie the Pooh. Although it isn’t the most memorable children’s book it is still a positive choice for young readers and parents and is recommended for the kiddos and Winnie the Pooh fans.
. more

The whole family will read all these Goodreads Children&aposs Illustrated book nominees for 2015 and rate all of them.

I never knew that Winnie the Pooh was based on Christopher Robin&aposs encounter with a real live bear at the London Zoo! My family loved this book, and it was hands down their favorite of the six (of fifteen) nominees for the award we have in the house at the moment.

I was on my way to the library to get it and heard Sally Walker on NPR being interviewed about it, and it really got me The whole family will read all these Goodreads Children's Illustrated book nominees for 2015 and rate all of them.

I never knew that Winnie the Pooh was based on Christopher Robin's encounter with a real live bear at the London Zoo! My family loved this book, and it was hands down their favorite of the six (of fifteen) nominees for the award we have in the house at the moment.

I was on my way to the library to get it and heard Sally Walker on NPR being interviewed about it, and it really got me interested. A soldier, Harry Colebourn, bought the bear in Winnipeg and called it that, though it was shortened to Winnie. Amazingly, the bear--yes, a real live bear--became his regiment's mascot. It slept for a time under his bed! And it was raised as a gentle, human-friendly pet that eventually went to live at the London Zoo, as the soldier, who had become a veterinarian to work with horses in WWI, went to war. Winnie, became famous and children were allowed to be photographed with him at the zoo. The book comes with pictures to prove all of this, an author's notes, sources for further study.

My kids loved it, talked about it, had fun with it. I liked it a lot. It's not very much about Milne or Winnie the Pooh, which is just fine. I thought the art by Jonathan Voss was just fine. The story itself is told pretty straightforwardly and feels a little slight, though I like my kids smiled throughout. It just feels pretty average as storytelling, though it has a great story to tell. If that makes any sense at all.

My above rating is roughly mine, and probably could have been bumped up to a five based on family ratings and influences and maybe still will be if the next nine I read of the award nominees are not nearly so good.

Dave 4.5/5
Tara 4.5
Harry 4.5 or 5
Henry 5
Lyra 5 . more

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Winnie-the-Pooh. So when my daughter and I were driving to Sault Ste Marie, we stopped at White River, Ontario, Canada and visited the museum dedicated to none other than Winnie-the-Pooh, the real Winnie! The staff there were very friendly and knowledgeable.

Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh written by Sally M. Walker and illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss is the remarkable tale of a real bear and the soldier who cared for I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Winnie-the-Pooh. So when my daughter and I were driving to Sault Ste Marie, we stopped at White River, Ontario, Canada and visited the museum dedicated to none other than Winnie-the-Pooh, the real Winnie! The staff there were very friendly and knowledgeable.

Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh written by Sally M. Walker and illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss is the remarkable tale of a real bear and the soldier who cared for her.

When Harry Colebourn saw a bear for sale at a Canadian 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 hometown, and he took her to the training camp at Valcartier, Quebec. Winnie followed Harry everywhere and slept under his cot every night. When the regiment had to go to England, they took Winnie with them. She was the regiment's much-loved mascot.

After a short while in England, the men were needed in France. Harry knew that it was too dangerous to take Winnie to the battleground in France, so he left her at the London Zoo, where she was well cared for. There, a boy named Christopher Robin came along and played with Winnie – he could care for this bear too! His father A.A.Milne told Christopher Robin bedtime stories about Winnie the bear at the zoo.

With Jonathan Voss's evocative illustrations, Sally Walker brings to life the heart-warming story of the real bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.
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“Goodbye, Christopher Robin”

New York Public Library The real Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Kanga, Eeyore and Tigger, inside of the New York Public Library.

Christopher Robin and Winne-the-Pooh were nearly reunited in 1987, 40 years after his father had given the forgotten teddy bear away. The bar’s owner, E. P. Dutton, offered him the chance to take his bear back, but Christopher Robin turned him down.

There was a public outcry of heartbreak when Christopher Robin allowed his bear to be donated to the New York Public Library. But to Christopher Robin, this was nothing more than a grown man giving away a teddy bear he hadn’t touched since he was a little boy.

“I like to have around me the things I like today, not the things I once liked many years ago,” he once said. “My toys were and are to me no more than yours were and are to you. I do not love them more because they are known to children in Australia or Japan.”

Wikimedia Commons Christopher Robin Milne with his father, A. A. Milne, and his bear. Circa 1925.

In his father’s stories, Christopher Robin held Winnie-the-Pooh’s hand before going off to boarding school and begged him: “Pooh, promise you won’t forget about me, ever. Not even when I’m a hundred.”

The real Christopher Robin wasn’t quite a hundred yet – only sixty-four. But it had been just how the story had promised. He’d gone off to boarding school, and when he’d come back, he wasn’t quite the same.

His father had promised that there would be an enchanted place on the top of the forest where a little boy and his bear will always be playing. But to Christopher Robin, it was a place that only existed in the hearts of other children.

The real boy had grown up. He’d stopped playing, and he didn’t need his bear anymore. Christopher Robin says it’s foolish to be sad about the death of a boy who was nothing more than his father’s dream, “It’s been something of a love-hate relationship down the years, but it’s all right now.”

Next up, learn about the legend behind Mulan and the dark fairy tales that inspired your favorite Disney classics.


Watch the video: The Messed Up Origins of Winnie the Pooh. Disney Explained - Jon Solo (July 2022).


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