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

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More snow today.  I can’t bring myself to look out the window so instead I read an awesome new picture book – Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker.  As soon as we get back to school, this is the book I’m reading to classes – we’ve had enough snow stories! If you work with young children, Walker’s delightful book is an essential purchase.

At the center of this story is the relationship between a WWI solider, Harry Colebourn, and an orphaned bear cub. In the strange but true category, the two meet when the baby bear is being sold at a train station by a man who “shot her mother.”  The hunter is in luck because Harry Colebourn is a veterinarian and he pays $20.00 to take the cub away. Named Winnie (because Harry’s company is from Winnepeg), the friendly and gentle cub becomes the crew’s mascot and pet. But when the company has to travel to France, Harry knows Winnie would be safer somewhere else.  He finds a new home for her at the London Zoo where….a man named A.A. Milne sometimes brings his son, Christopher Robin. You know the rest!

There’s now a statue at the London Zoo honoring the soldier who took care of Winnie and, through his generous gift, made it possible for Winnie to become a beloved character for generations of children.


In other news…..


Last week a 4th grade student told me about a really sweet idea she had for Valentine’s Day. In her class, the students each chose a name of someone for whom they would make a homemade Valentine. This student happened to choose a girl her age who also likes to read so at the center of the card, her “gift” was three book recommendations. Here’s what she recommended:

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

In a 1st through 3rd grade classrooms, the students made their own books. After reading “all about” books by the master of explanation, Gail Gibbons, the students made their own fact books about a topic of their choice.

Of course, there were books about horses….

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And….it always leads back to snow. This student’s book reminds me that some people are enjoying all of this:

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