Book Review: Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

FindingWinnie_fulljacket_revisedFiction (Primary)

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear

By : Lindsay Mattick

Illustrated by: Sophie Blackall


Before heading to the theatres to watch Christopher Robin and his beloved bear, Winnie-the-Pooh, first, there was a real bear named Winnie.

Winnie’s story spans for over a hundred years when Captain Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian, rescued a special bear from a trapper and bought him for $20 at the train station on his way to fight in Europe during the World War I. He named the bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, after his hometown.

Harry brought Winnie to England and she became the mascot of the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade and became close friends with the soldiers situated at the camp. As the war broke out, knowing Winnie couldn’t follow him to France, he decided to find Winnie a new home at the London Zoo, where she befriended a boy named Christopher Robin, and inspired the story of the legendary children’s book, Winnie-the-Pooh.

Towards the end of the story, as it is framed in a bedtime story format, Lindsay Mattick as the storyteller, tells her son, Cole, that she is the great-great-granddaughter of Harry Colebourn, making Winnie a real bear.

Apart from the fact that the book was penned by Harry Colebourn’s, great-great-granddaughter, Lindsay Mattick, the book flourishes with beautiful illustrations, imaginative writing, elegant art, and complemented by the pictures of Colebourn’s family archives and the real Winnie, which makes the book an instant classic and a story that children will love for a lifetime. Here is the remarkable true story of the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.


Author of the month: Dav Pilkey

David Murray Pilkey, or Dav Pilkey for the readers of his famous Captain Underpants book series, was born on March 4, 1966, to David and Barbara Pilkey. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio but eventually moved to Washington where he met his wife Sayuri, the owner of his favourite Japanese restaurant and a professional musician.

While he was in elementary, he was diagnosed with and suffers from dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  He was often scolded for his behavior in school and was always asked to stay outside in the hallway. His teacher even moved a desk there just for him where it remained in use for three years.  He kept that desk well stocked with pencils, paper, magic markers, and crayons. He spent his detention time immersed in drawing to relieve his boredom, stapled together sheets of paper to make his own comic books filled with  adventures of a group of superheroes. One of these creations was Captain Underpants, who was destined to be a big hit in later years.

A life-altering event happened during his senior year in high school.  He was working as a waiter at Pizza Hut. While they were making his name tag, the label maker got broken and instead of printing Dave it printed Dav and the name got stuck.  As Dav Pilkey, he entered Ken State University as an art major where his freshman English teacher complimented his creative writing skills and encouraged him to write books. Thinking that it was an idea with some merit, he created a children’s book  entitled, “World War Won” and entered it in a competition. World War Won was awarded the grand prize and Pilkey became a published author at the age of nineteen.

From then on he continued writing books for children.  Some of his works that are available here in the Grade School LRC are:

  • The Adventures of Captain Underpants
  • The adventures of Ook and Gluk : kung-fu cavemen from the future
  • Captain underpants and the sensational saga of sir stinks-a-lot
  • Captain Underpants and the wrath of the wicked wedgie woman
  • The all new Captain Underpants extra-crunchy book o’ fun 2
  • Captain Underpants and the attack of the talking toilets
  • Captain Underpants and the big, bad battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, part 1 : the night of the nasty nostril nuggets
  • Captain Underpants and the invasion of the incredibly naughty cafeteria ladies from outer space (and the subsequent assault of the equally evil lunchroom zombie nerds
  • Captain Underpants and the big, bad battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, part 2 : the revenge of the ridiculous Robo-Boogers
  • Captain Underpants and the perilous plot of Professor Poopypants
  • Captain Underpants and the preposterous plight of the purple potty people
  • Captain Underpants and the revolting revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers
  • Captain Underpants and the terrifying return of Tippy Tinkletrousers : the ninth epic novel
  • Captain Underpants and the tyrannical retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000
  • Dog Man
  • Ricky Ricotta’s mighty robot vs. the stupid stinkbugs from Saturn
  • Ricky Ricotta’s mighty robot vs. the mutant mosquitoes from Mercury
  • Ricky Ricotta’s mighty robot vs. the mecha-monkeys from Mars
  • Ricky Ricotta’s mighty robot vs. the Uranium unicorns from Uranus
  • Ricky Ricotta’s mighty robot vs. the voodoo vultures from Venus


Book Review: Unbored Adventure: 70 Seriously Fun Activities for Kids, by Joshua Glenn & Elizabeth Foy Larsen

For the kids we grew up with, and their kids.

There is no denying that the times have changed; people have gone from old-school activities such as hopscotch, hide and seek, biking,and all the other things people used to do before the advent of internet, to just using their phones, watching, playing or even just reading whatever it is they can find on the web.

No one can blame them though – nowadays, we have everything at the palm of our hands, and anything is just a click away. The downside is that, technology has caused us to be more aloof, even with our family members.

Imagine taking those things away – the phones, the computers, televisions, or even the internet connection. It wouldn’t be surprising if people become anxious, fidgety, or even bored!

That is where this book comes in. Unbored Adventure is actually part of the Unbored series, a series of books that was written with the aim to provide activities to help us bond with family and friends, without the use of technology. The book is filled with various games that people can do both indoors and outdoors!

Unbored Activities will definitely bring together old-school enjoyable activities with hobbies and interests people nowadays are into. This book will also teach kids to be creative with the things they do, as they can use it as possible basis to come up with a past-time of their own, which makes it all the more special.

Book Review: Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Trouble is, you can’t run away from yourself.

Ghost is the first book published from American author Jason Reynolds’ Track series, a sequence of light novels centered on the story of four youth runners, who all come from various backgrounds.

The first installment follows the story of Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw, a seventh-grader who struggles to deal with his past and present. He had experienced trauma by the hands of his father, who, at a drunken rage, tried to kill him and his mother.

At present, Castle is what people would call “problematic” – he often gets himself into problems with teachers and peers.

But one thing he is good at, aside from causing his mother headaches and eating sunflower seeds, is running. To him, it is the most natural thing – to know how to run fast, which got recognized by the local coach, Otis Brody. What follows transforms Castle from an angry young boy to a responsible boy who faces his problems head on.

Ghost was written in such a way that even younger audiences can appreciate it. I believe the book would be appreciated by students from grades 5 and 6, who will be able to relate more with the main character.  

Ghost teaches the readers that the power to change anything lies in our own hands; that ultimately, nothing but our decisions would shape our own life. This book also reminds our young readers that there will always be someone who will be ready to listen to them.