Ages: 8 - 12Producer: Hachette Audio


Winnie’s Great War is based on the true story of the real-life role played by author Lindsay Mattock’s great grandfather, Harry Colebourn, and his pet bear, Winnie, in the creation of A. A. Milne’s classic children’s character, Winnie the Pooh. A young officer in training in the Canadian Veterinary Corps in the early days of World War I, Lt. Colebourn adopts a tiny bear cub whose mother has been killed by a trapper. The young female bear, whom Colebourn names Winnie (after the Canadian province of Winnipeg), soon becomes the beloved mascot of the entire Veterinary Corps, befriending Colebourn’s fellow soldiers, the horses he is responsible for training, and even the cynical officers that originally reject her. Using actual entries from Colebourn’s wartime diary, the story follows Harry and Winnie’s seasick ship ride across the Atlantic, a mystical visit to Stone Hedge near the soldier’s encampment in the English Salisbury Plain, and Winnie’s new life in the London Zoo after Harry and his fellow soldiers are deployed to the trenches on the Western Front. As told by Mattock and her co-author Josh Greenhut, Winnie’s Great War combines fantasy and enchantment (Winnie’s early experience with her mother in the forest and her special friendships with the horses, Tempest and Sir Reginald, and the ship rat, Tatters) with painful depictions of suffering, death, and the horrors of war. Warmly and compassionately narrated by actress Kathleen McInerney, Harry and Winnie’s tale is an inspiring testimony of how joy, friendship, and love can be found even in the darkest and most frightening moments of life.

David Shirley ©2019 Parents’ Choice

David Shirley’s recent nonfiction titles include A History of Brooklyn Bridge Park and Fix It Leroy! His YA biographies, Every Day I Sing the Blues: The Story of B. B. King and Satchel Paige: Baseball Legend were honored as the New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens.

Available here