April 13, 2017 — Who could imagine that everyone’s favorite bear, Winnie the Pooh, got his start during World War I?
Author Lindsay Mattick tells the incredible tale in her book “Finding Winnie, The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear.” Illustrator Sophie Blackall’s tender way of telling the story in pictures earned her the 2016 Caldecott Medal.
The book struck a chord with librarians, who selected “Finding Winnie” as the main title for the One Read in April, and invited illustrator Sophie Blackall to come to Springfield to talk about how her love of the story and research took her all the way to the London Zoo.
Blackall will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 13, in the Springfield Art Museum auditorium, 1111 E. Brookside Drive. The event is free to all ages; books will be available for purchase and signing afterwards.
The true story? In 1914, Canadian veterinarian Capt. Harry Colebourn was on his way to tend horses in World War I when he rescued a bear cub. He named the bear after his hometown of Winnipeg, and took Winnie to war in Europe. The cub quickly became a beloved camp mascot.
That was just the beginning of Winnie’s adventures and his friendship with the real Christopher Robin Milne, son of A.A. Milne who went on to write the Winnie the Pooh stories we know and love.
“Finding Winnie” author Lindsay Mattick knows all this because she is the great-granddaughter of Capt. Colebourn.
“Finding Winnie” illustrator Blackall immersed herself in researching the story, all the way to the London Zoo where Winnie later lived. Her illustrations are as unforgettable as the story, itself.
Sophie Blackall has illustrated over 30 books for children, including the best-selling series “Ivy and Bean.” Originally from Australia, she lives in Brooklyn now. Her award-winning illustrations have appeared in over 30 books for children and in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Vogue.
We encourage everyone to read “Finding Winnie” and learn more about the other One Read programs at thelibrary.org/oneread.
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