Books·Canadian

Winnie's Great War

This is book chronicles a wartime adventure seen through the eyes of the world's most beloved bear.

Lindsay Mattick and Josh Greenhut, illustrated Sophie Blackall

Here is a heartwarming imagining of the real journey undertaken by the extraordinary bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh. From her early days with her mama in the Canadian forest, to her remarkable travels with the Veterinary Corps across the country and overseas, and all the way to the London Zoo where she met Christopher Robin Milne and inspired the creation of the world's most famous bear, Winnie is on a great war adventure. 

This beautifully told story is a triumphant blending of deep research and magnificent imagination. Infused with Sophie Blackall's irresistible renderings of an endearing bear, the book is also woven through with entries from Captain Harry Colebourn's real wartime diaries and contains a selection of artifacts from the Colebourn Family Archives. The result is a one-of-a-kind exploration into the realities of war, the meaning of courage, and the indelible power of friendship, all told through the historic adventures of one extraordinary bear. (From Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Winnie's Great War was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text.

From the book

In the middle of the Woods was a tree, and at the bottom of the tree was a hole, and out of the hole poked a big black pad of a nose, which sniffed the air to see whether anyone as around. It smelled like a fine spring day, like the earth was growing.

Next came two great paws, followed by a pair of knowing eyes and a broad bushy back you could ride on. And just like that, a fully grown black bear stumped from her den under the tree.

After taking a moment to lumber around, Mama gave a wide yawn. "Come out, dear."

A tiny cub crept from the hollow. She perked her ears and raised her nose and spun round in wonder. "Our den is inside a tree?"

There she was: your Bear.


From Winnie's Great War by Lindsay Mattick and Josh Greenhut, with illustrations by Sophie Blackall ©2018. Published by Little, Brown Books.

More about Winnie-the-Pooh

Winnie-the-Pooh makes his literary debut

Digital Archives

34 years agoVideo
5:44
How a beloved bear of English children's tales traces his existence to a Canadian black bear cub named Winnipeg. Photo credit: Provincial Archives of Manitoba 5:44

Winnie-the-Pooh's Canadian connection

Digital Archives

32 years agoVideo
1:28
A Winnipeg man donated a bear to the London Zoo, and a literary legend was born. Now the city could get a statue to mark the connection. 1:28

From the darkness of war

Arts and Entertainment

6 years agoVideo
3:26
CBC's Nahlah Ayed with how Canadians are marking the 100 years since the start of WW I. 3:26
CBC Books editor Jennifer Warren has spent a lot of time in the Hundred Acre Wood lately, coming up with a list of 90 fascinating facts about the lovable bear from Winnipeg. 8:36

Other books by Lindsay Mattick

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