Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Bear That Wasn't

     On May 22, 1980 I was leading a group of ninth grade students through Quincy Market in Boston, and I sauntered into a bookstore.  As I was pawing through books in the children's section, I came across The Bear Who Wanted to Be a Bear, fell in love with it, and purchased it for my sons.  This past holiday season my younger son asked me if I remembered the book and had the copy I bought all those years ago.  In fact, I did; I vividly remembered the copy; it had illustrations that reminded me of the 1962 Stanley Kubrick movie A Clockwork Orange.  The original story, written by Frank Tashlin, has a bit of a Simpsonesque feel to it — it's eloquently written for both children and adults. I bought my son his own copy.
     Listening to Weekend Edition (scroll down a bit to get to the reading) recently, I heard Scott Simon and Daniel Pinkwater read Tashlin's original book, The Bear That Wasn't on the occasion of its re-issuance by the New York Review of Books Children's Collection.  In case you missed reading the book in your parenting or teaching work, here it is in full color.

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