Remember last year when word got out that our beloved Hello Kitty is not in fact a cat, but a little HUMAN girl? And you probably needed 10-15 minutes to process the news, and had to lie down for a bit and think about your life? We all went through that same struggle, don’t worry. So, now consider this new fictional animal news Part Two: our beloved Winnie the Pooh is not in fact a chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff yellow bear (who we figured was a dude, or even genderless). Winnie is actually a female black bear.
Take all the time you need to let this sink in, and circle back whenever you’re ready. You’re going to want to hear this story.
Here’s the Pooh Bear news, deconstructed. Canadian author Lindsay Mattick’s has a brand new picture book out called, Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear. In it, Mattick tells the story of her great-grandfather, Harry Colebourn, who was a WWI veterinarian on his way to London to treat battlefield horses. Just before getting on a train, he happened to spot a li’l bear cub tied to a pole, and “followed his heart and rescued [the] baby bear.” Colebourn named the bear Winnie, after his native home, Winnipeg, Canada.
Colebourn and Winnie became fast BFFs, and the two stayed together until Colebourn had to deploy to France. He knew Winnie couldn’t travel with him, so he took her to the London Zoo and asked if they could look after his cub. The London Zoo said yes, of course, and the two went their separate ways. Pause to cry a little bit.