The real story behind Winnie the Pooh - he's a she

The real story behind the loveable Pooh.
The real story behind the loveable Pooh.  Photo: Disney

Winnie the Pooh is the loveable character in A. A. Milne's much loved children's stories but a picture book has just revealed the honey-addicted character isn't who we thought he was.

According to the book titled, Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear, Winnie is from Canada and is actually a girl. 

Written by the great granddaughter of Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, a soldier on his way to tend to the horses on the World War I battlefield. He spotted the bear cub in Ontario, bought her for $20 and continued his journey.

Winnie the Pooh was bought for $20 by a veteran on his way to war.
Winnie the Pooh was bought for $20 by a veteran on his way to war.  

According to Here & Now: "He [Lieutenant Colebourn] named the bear Winnie, after his native Winnipeg, and continued to the east coast of Canada, where he boarded a ship - with Winnie and his new regiment - to England."

CTV News reports the veteran's diary entry from that day read, "Left Port Arthur 7 a.m. In train all day. Bought bear $20."

When Lieutenant Colebourn was deployed to France, he couldn't take Winnie with him. Instead, he left her with the London Zoo.

During Winnie's time at the Zoo, she developed many admirers including a young boy named Christopher Robin Milne.

As it turns out, Robin is the son of children's author A. A. Milne.

Speaking to Here & Now, Lieutenant Colebourn's great granddaughter, Lindsay Mattick said she knew she needed to share their family's story.


"At some point, I knew I was going to have a child and I thought, there was no better way to explain to them this amazing family story than to do it as a picture book," Mattick said.

"And so when I found out I was pregnant a few years ago, I basically had this nine month kind of deadline to take my first crack at writing a picture book."

Although A.A. Milne's stories were based on his son's bear, the illustrations were inspired by another. 

The bear in the books instead resembles illustrator E.H. Shepard's young son Graham teddy called Growler.

A.A. Milne published the first volume of Winnie the Pooh stories in 1926.

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