Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Story About Friendship

Every once in a while something happens that imparts a feeling of synchronicity, like things fell into place in just the right order and the result was something wonderful. This is the feeling I got after reading Finding Winnie, a picture book written by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

Finding Winnie is the true story of a World War I captain named Harry and the baby bear he happened to run across at a train station in White River on his way to fight the war. He bought the bear from a trapper for twenty dollars. Winnipeg, or Winnie for short, as the bear was called, became the mascot of Harry’s regiment until it came time for Harry to go to the front. The front was too dangerous for Winnie, so Harry had no choice but to leave her at the London Zoo. It is at this point that Winnie meets a new friend and steps into history to become “the world’s most famous bear”.  “Sometimes,” the author says, “you have to let one story end so that the next one can begin.” See the video from the publisher below:

Finding Winnie is a picture book that manages to celebrate love, friendship, loss, letting go, and starting over in 42 short pages. It is a true story, so the illustrations are very realistic and chronicle Winnie’s journey from Canada to England and eventually to the London Zoo and her chance encounter with a boy named Christopher Robin.

The back matter has bonus photographs of of the real Harry and the real Winnie. If you have ever loved a furry friend, this book might make you cry and it will definitely inspire.

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