Friday, August 12, 2016

Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker


This book gave me all the feels!!

When I was a child I remember every kid on the planet knew about Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, and his friends. There's even a famous spiritual book called the Dao of Pooh is solely dedicated to the genius of these famous stories. There has been movies, and a television show that has permeated our society for decades so it is merely impossible not to know who is Winnie the Pooh, but an interesting question is do you know how this series all began?

Winnie the Pooh is actually based on a real bear and Christopher Robin is the name of the authors son. The bear named Winnie lived in the London Zoo and Christopher Robin would always visit the Zoo and feed Winnie. Christopher Robin had a stuffed bear that he would sleep with and would want his father to tell his stories of adventures with Winnie the Pooh. But the story does begin there, in order to showcase the book I must work backwards.

In 1914, in the midst of WWI, Lt. Harry Colebourn volunteered his services for as a veterinarian surgeon to take the horses that were used in battle. While waiting to ride the train, he witness a cub bear on a leash and learns that the owner is selling the bear because he killed the mother not realizing she had an offspring. Harry Colebourn took the gamble and bought the bear and immediately they became best buddies. The bear was originally named Winnipeg but quickly was shorten to Winnie.

The military sergeants were apprehensive about having this bear roaming around the base but all the militant men fell in love with the bear and Harry Colebourn treated the bear as if Winnie was his own child. Unfortunately as the war progressed, Harry was stationed to camps that were practically on a battlefield and he didn't want to take the risk so he put Winnie in the London Zoo where she would be safe and well taken care. He made the promise that he would get her out after the war was over but that never happen.

Animals are a soft spot for me, if I see any harm done to an animal I will be the first one to find the culprit and seek justice for the animals. They do not have the ability to speak human words so we must be the ones that speak for them and we must take care of all animals regardless if they are our pets or in the Zoos. On top of being sensitive, I have a puppy and she has become the light of my world and the thought of letting her go for whatever reason breaks my heart into a million pieces.

I read this while I was in the library and I wished I had waited to read it in the privacy of my own room because I almost lost it in tears the part where Winnie and Harry were heading to the Zoo and they were wishing goodbye to each other. While this is a children's book, just the illustrations of Winnie's sad eyes and the scene of them sitting together alone while Harry was giving his goodbyes brought this story to life. 

I wanted to cry and have my emotional moment but I was robbed of that because I didn't want people to see me looking like this:


In the end I found this book to be beautiful and how the memory of Winnie lives on. It provides a short biography at the end of the book that provides the details as to when Winnie died and what happen to Harry after the war. On the sides of the book flap, they brilliantly added photos of the real Winnie and the note card detailing that Winnie was accepted into the London Zoo. I found this book to be beautiful and simple in the storyline and definitely a great book to read to kids especially those who love Winnie the Pooh.

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