Finding Winnie

by Lindsay Mattick Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

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The book starts off with little boy named Cole asking his mom to tell him a bedtime story. She proceeds to tell him a story of a Veterinarian named Harry Colebourn that went to help out in World War 1. When Harry is getting ready to board the train he saw a bear and her trapper at the station. He ends up buying the bear and taking it with him to camp. He names the bear Winnie and she becomes the mascot of the platoon. The story shows their adventures together at camp. When the day comes that they are being shipped out Harry knows he cant take Winnie so he takes her to the zoo to be cared for while he is gone. During Winnie's time in the zoo she becomes good friends with a little boy named Christopher Robin whose dad is A.A Milne and ends up writing story's about his sons and the bears adventures. When Harry returned from war he knew he couldn't take Winnie out of the zoo because she was too loved.

Literary Elements

This book did a great job at showing most if not all of the literary elements just the illustrations. Starting off with the plot, if you were just to look at the pictures you would get a good concept for the timeline of the story. You would also see that the main characters would be a man in uniform (Harry Coleburn the Veterinarian) and a bear (Winnie). Throughout the story you can see their relationship grows and how they each care for one another deeply. Which leads me to think that the theme of the story is love, compassion, companionship, and the pain/joy of separation. Coming from Sophie Blackall "I think kids will love that it’s a true story, and that a man and a bear were friends. They got to sleep cuddled up together. Kids will feel the heartbreak of separation when Harry has to go in the trenches during the war". The setting of course takes place during WWI.

Physical features

This book draws a little more attention to itself because one the whole outside of the book has yellow diamonds in the background along with a cute little bear on the front, two its slightly larger than an average book making it stick out from other books. Another thing to notice is that if you look at the book from the top down it's blue, and if you look from the bottom of the book up it's black. Going on to the pages that are a thicker paper I would think just to make the book sturdier to wear n tear. The font used in the book is a pretty basic font and very clear to read and understand.

Visual Elements

Artistic style

This book used mostly the realism style and a little informative. Not only is this book a true story but it also falls under that category of realism and informative because you could actually raise a baby bear, it may not be exactly like Winnie but it is a possible scenario. I also get the feel of realism because of the illustrations and how they use the light and colors together giving it a realistic feel that your in the story. I feel like these were really good styles to use given that it is a true story but in more of a fun colorful setting.

Artistic Media

At first when looking at how the illustrations were done in this book I was thinking watercolor with maybe a mix of colored pencils. Then I did some research and found a guide to young readers books saying "Sophie Blackall's beautifully rendered watercolor and ink illustrations", which pretty much confirmed what I was thinking along with a video of her painting Winnie while taking about winning the caldecott award. I think the way the book was painted does a perfect job showing how realistic and natural it is along with a mix of imagination.

Elements of Illustration

When looking at different elements of illustration in Finding Winnie I looked to see if the illustrations were double page spreads or just single pages, and I noticed there was a variety of both. The main thing I noticed was the text is mostly written off to the side of the image in a box. The most important thing that stood out to me was the timeline when turning the pages it seemed like every time you turned the page it was a jump ahead in time maybe a week to a month. For example on one page they are on a ship crossing the Atlantic ocean then when you turn the page they are marching through a rain storm, then flipping the page again they are taking a group photo. This mix of elements gave meaning to the book because you could clearly see Winnie growing up and becoming part of the platoon.

Interplay of text and Illustration

The text and illustration worked hand and hand in this book. Without the text the story seems to be empty, but if there were no illustrations you wouldn't get the full picture to what the mom is telling the little boy. Especially when it comes to the end of the book and it has real photographs of Winnie and writing excerpts from Harry Coleburn about Winnie, including when her got her, how much he paid for her, all the things they did together, and her being in the platoons group picture. All of these events are explained throughout the book and beautifully brought to life in the colorful illustrations. So if this was a wordless picture book the pictures would almost seem to have no meaning as goes for if it was all text.


Alex. "Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall." The Children's War. N.p. 15 November 2016. Web. 30 Sept. 2016.

ILoveLibrariesALA. "Sophie Blackall Named 2016 Caldecott Medalist." YouTube. YouTube, 2016. Web. 30 Sept. 2016.

Kletter, By Melanie. "Books And More." Finding Winnie Illustrator Wins Caldecott. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2016.