Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Finding Winnie

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear. Lindsay Mattick. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall. 2015. Little, Brown. 56 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: "Could you tell me a story?" asked Cole.

Premise/plot: Cole, the author's young son, asks for a story--a TRUE story; he wants a true story about a BEAR. What the author shares with her son--in the story--and with readers--in the book--is indeed a true story. The story of how a young soldier on his way to war--the author's great-great grandfather finds a bear at a train station, buys it, and takes it with him. The bear's name is WINNIE. And when Harry Colebourn goes to the front, he leaves Winnie in the London Zoo. Many people loved going to see Winnie, but, the best known perhaps is A.A. Milne's young son.

My thoughts: I love several things about this one. I love the personal connection. The author is sharing her own family history with readers. Older readers may enjoy looking at the album at the back of the book. Many photos and captions are included. This grounds the book very well as being a TRUE story. It brings the story to life.

But I also enjoy the framework of this one. It is a book that celebrates storytelling and families. I believe it is a bedtime story he's asking for. I love the idea of parents sharing their own stories with children, and true stories at that! Throughout the story, readers hear the mother and son chatting. It works.

I also just genuinely love the writing of this one!


ETA: I read this first in 2016. I reread it again in January 2019. I love it just as much this second time reading it. I may even love it more. The author has now written a new book for young readers a fantasy novel from the bear's point of view.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 10 out of 10

© 2019 Becky Laney of Young Readers

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