Always looking for engaging non-fiction books, I recently picked up Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker with illustrations by Jonathan D. Voss. I never knew Winnie-the-Pooh was actually inspired by a real life bear (also named Winnie) and I’m guessing most kids won’t either.
The tale explains how a military veterinarian named Harry, enlisted to care for military horses, comes to find a bear cub for sale and takes her under his wing. Eventually, as World War I escalates and Harry finds himself sent overseas, Winnie tags along, where she makes mischief in the camp, and ultimately finds herself a new, permanent home.
Voss has done a wonderful job with the illustrations and I think children will love the playfulness in Winnie’s antics. Equally appealing are the actual photographs of Harry and Winnie on the inside of the front and back cover. After reading the story, I immediately was drawn to the photos making connections to the text.
Winnie reads like a story and the pictures are drawn not illustrated, a perfect opportunity to reiterate all non-fiction books aren’t just listed facts and don’t always have photographs. If you’re studying bears, World War I, or looking for a non-fiction connection to Winnie-the-Pooh, this book will fit the bill.