Sometimes, the stories behind books are as fascinating — or even more so — than the books themselves, as is the case for Finding Winnie, when two stranger-than-fiction real-life sequences of events — an army veterinarian buying a baby bear off a trapper at a train station, and a little boy’s unusual friendship with a certain grown bear at the London Zoo — collide to result in the creation of one of the most beloved literary characters ever written: Winnie the Pooh.
Besides the richly detailed and heartwarming illustrations by Sophie Blackall, what makes this version of the tale behind the tales special is the author’s personal connection to it all, since she’s the great-granddaughter of Harry Colebourn, the vet who had serendipitously rescued the real Winnie. This legitimacy results in a narration that feels authentic and that is infused with warmth and heart.
I also love how it’s told like a bedtime story to her son, who gets to play a central role in the book — it’s amazing how it all comes full circle. The highlights of this book, though, are the priceless journal entries and incredible photographs of the real Winnie and Harry that the author shares at the end of the book. Love, love, love.