It all begins with a veterinarian from Canada who is heading off to World War I to serve in the army, taking care of soldiers' horses. His chance encounter with a trapper and a bear cub at a train station sets Pooh's story in motion. The illustrations (by Sophie Blackall) alternate between comic strip-like panels which advance the story and vivid works of art that seem to be designed with color palettes that are reminiscent of the era and of original Winnie-the-Pooh editions.
The remarkable bear who began her life in Canada, crosses the ocean with "Thirty ships...36,000 men, and about 7,500 horses...." Without spoiling her journey for the reader, she doesn't have only one home when she arrives in England. Notice I use the word, "her." Throughout my life, I always perceived Winnie-the-Pooh as a boy, yet Mattick uses the female pronoun when referring to this adventurous creature. The origin of her name, the relationships that she develops, and the unlikely visitor who makes her famous are all revealed in this lovely picture book. It is an unusual wartime story that connects a fictional character from our childhood with a modern author bound forever to Winnie's purchase from that trapper at the train station.