I’ve always been a sucker for back stories, and so when I saw Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh on the library’s website, I ignored the stacks of library books I already have checked out and went to put it on hold. Luckily for me, it’s actually a picture book–I can generally find the time to read those!–and it’s an interesting and enjoyable read. I knew nothing about A. A. Milne, let alone the bear named Winnie (short for Winnipeg!) at the London zoo that inspired his most famous creation. If possible, I knew less than nothing about Harry Colebourn, the WWI army vet that bought Winnie at a train station (I knew A. A. Milne existed, at least). By the end of the book, I knew something of all three. Sally M. Walker’s storytelling is simple and straightforward, and her author’s note is nicely informative. (There appear to be other books on the same topic–one by a descendant of Harry Colebourn, I think–but I’m not into Winnie-the-Pooh enough to seek them out. This was enough for me.)
According to the dustjacket, moreover, Walker has a good bit of experience writing history for young readers. When I saw that one of her titles had won the Sibert medal, I looked her up on the library’s website; she has quite the diverse collection of non-fiction to her credit. One of her other titles is currently waiting for me to pick it up at my local library branch, and I’m looking forward to it. Stay tuned for reviews on her other titles!