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

Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh
Written by Sally M. Walker, Illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss

When Harry Colebourn saw a baby bear at a train station, he knew he could care for it. Harry was a veterinarian. But he was also a soldier in training during World War I. Harry named the bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, his company’s home town, and he brought her along to the military camp in England. Winnie followed Harry everywhere and slept under his cot every night. Before long, she became the regiment’s much-loved mascot. But who could care for the bear when Harry went to battle? Harry found just the right place for Winnie–the London Zoo. There a boy named Christopher Robin played with Winnie–he could care for this bear too!

Primary Source Pairing:
For many children, Winnie the Pooh is a loveable yellow cartoon bear, and perhaps to some, a beloved character in A.A. Milne’s books. To Harry Colebourne, Winnie was a pet, a friend, and a distraction from the realities of war. The real Winnie was bear who had quite the story to tell, and who was loved by many in Harry’s life and later at the London Zoo.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What people and objects are shown?
  • What is the physical setting?
  • What can you learn from examining this image?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Image of Harry and Winnie found on the Workingham Remembers website.