The mark of a silly old bear

Finding Winnie by Lindsay MattickThe wide-ranging artwork of contemporary children’s book illustrators earns the spotlight at an impressive exhibit at Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, PA.

Guest curator H. Nichols B. Clark has selected art by eight renowned artists, several of whom I’ve featured on this blog: Sophie Blackall, Bryan Collier, Raúl Colón, Marla Frazee, Jon Klassen, Melissa Sweet, David Wiesner and Mo Willems. For any children’s book lover in the Philadelphia area, the exhibit, running through October 9, is a must.

Since children, as well as us older ones, often face so many changes and challenges as the new school year approaches, this seems like the perfect time for a reassuring story such as Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, which earned Sophie Blackall the 2016 Caldecott Medal.

Blackall’s watercolor-and-ink illustrations provide a lively sense of movement, both literally and figuratively, and evoke sweet emotional connections among loved ones. The connection between children and their stuffed animals or similar toys is often psychologically rich and deserves attention and respect. This title taps that vein and adds an interesting realistic angle, as well.

The author, employing a story within a story, introduces readers to a loving mother and her rosy-cheeked son, Cole, cuddling at night while the child clutches his bear and requests a bedtime story — “a true story. One about a Bear.”

The mother tells the boy the story of veterinarian named Harry Colebourn, who, while heading off to serve in World War I, encountered a trapper with a baby black bear at a train depot. Colebourn, wanting to rescue the bear, bought it and took it across Canada to the army base in England. He named the bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, his hometown.  Winnie made himself at home, but when the troop had to ship out to France, Colebourn managed to find his pet a new one, at the London Zoo. In time, a father and his son, Christopher Robin, visited the zoo, and the boy couldn’t get enough of the bear. His father, A.A. Milne, began to spin stories about the bear, whimsical stories that went on to garner a coveted spot at many a child’s bedside.

This endearing true story, told by Colebourn’s great-great granddaughter, has enough substance for upper elementary students, while also sweeping up younger ones.

Complement Finding Winnie with …

Knuffle Bunny by Mo WillemsDahlia by Barbara McClintockAlexander and the Wind-Up Mouse by Leo Lionni.jpg

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Barbara Fisher
    Aug 17, 2017 @ 10:28:38

    What a beautiful book, thank you for sharing it with us.

    Reply

  2. Gilbert-Ian Rueda
    Oct 29, 2016 @ 19:06:03

    Hi!
    My children’s book, “Santosh the Little Elephant: A Tale of Friendship and Courage,” was very recently published. I was wondering if you would be interested in reading my book and talking about it on your blog. I am a civic-minded primary school teacher. Like you, I care deeply about instilling a love of reading in children. I spend my free time in the community educating parents on the importance of literacy. I realize I am just an average person and you must get these inquiries all the time. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask. I have written multiple articles for various local magazines in my town. I would be willing to do whatever is asked of me to add value to your site. I’m just really trying to get my work out there. Thank you for your time. God bless you.
    Gilbert-Ian Rueda

    Reply

  3. mereoblivion
    Aug 30, 2016 @ 17:15:22

    I’m so glad to see you’re back, Janice. So will Mary be when she returns from out of town day after tomorrow.

    Love, Alex

    On Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 3:27 PM, Books of Wonder and Wisdom wrote:

    > Janice Floyd Durante posted: “The wide-ranging artwork of contemporary > children’s book illustrators earns the spotlight at an impressive exhibit > at Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, PA. Guest curator H. > Nichols B. Clark has selected art by eight renowned artists, several” >

    Reply

  4. deborahpm
    Aug 30, 2016 @ 17:11:25

    How we all loved Winnie! Thanks for sharing more about his true story and this delightful-sounding book will go on my granddaughter’s shelf soon.

    Reply

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