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.
When a train packed with toys and food for children becomes stranded on the wrong side of the mountain, the toys onboard try to get help from passing trains like the Shiny New Engine and the Big Strong Engine — to no avail.
Inspired by the author’s own experience with his daughter, this heartwarming wordless picture book centres on a little girl taking a stroll home with her father after a grocery run. But, despite walking side by side, what they each see and experience along the way cannot be more different.
Fractured fairy tales are some of our favourite stories, especially since these are usually wittier than the originals. And, having read six versions of Jack and the Beanstalk — three of which are classic retellings — our hands-down favourite is this brilliant sequel to the classic fairy tale, conceived by Raymond Briggs in 1970(!), way before such stories became hip or common.
A small dense mass of scribbles is cleverly used here to reflect a little girl’s dark mood — she literally and metaphorically has a cloud hanging over her head.
A paper-doll princess is blown away by the wind before she is given hair by the little girl who created her. After a series of misadventures, she meets a kind jay who takes pity on her and helps her to make her way back to where — and whom — she belongs.
Fun fact: Crocodiles are one of the best at dealing with inclement weather conditions like the 5-hour downpour that we had today; most other terrestrial creatures try to seek some form of shelter and wait for the rain to pass as best as they can — much like us, but without the creature comforts…
Sam is used to being the top dog, so to speak, on the race track. Then one day, an unexpected loss threatens to derail his winning streak and — more disastrously — his relationship with his friends. Only when faced with a moral dilemma does he finally realise that losing a race is small potatoes compared to doing the right thing and winning the respect of his friends.