Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Kiss for Little Bear

Speaking of playing in the snow, we have recently discovered my own childhood Little Bear books, illustrated (and written?) by Maurice Sendak. This is due to O.'s great current fascination with the animated series, which I'll admit is less grating, and more gentle, than many of the other offerings on our DVR rotation. I was reminded today of Little Bear making his mother give him more and more articles of clothing to go outside and play in the snow, until he remembers he is, after all, a bear, and ends up happily sitting outside in his bear suit. A great happy image.

However, I'm finding myself questioning the world of Little Bear. The line between his fantasy and real life are pleasingly blurred in the animated show, with him happily living out his imagination by say, meeting a mermaid in his bathwater. But, in what is clearly his real existence, it is strange who can communicate and who cannot. Talking cats, ducks, hens, snakes, owls, yes. But Tutu the dog and Mitzi the monkey? Only yipping and hooting. And when Little Bear found a baby deer in the woods, his experience returning her to the wild was as much an encounter with the alien as mine would be. Mother and Father Deer just looked back over their shoulder at the Bear family when they recovered their lost fawn -- no chatting about where she'd been. To add to the confusion, when Little Bear finds a robin egg in the woods, Mother Robin is as chatty as they come. I know, I know -- talking animals require the suspension of disbelief to begin with. But am I wrong to require some consistency of the rules here? I'm only partially kidding about this -- it really kind of bothers me. Help! I've resorted to analyzing children's programming in lieu of true texts.

1 comment:

MEP said...

We don't watch Little Bear yet, but that would bother me as well. In a similar vein, I sometimes wonder why on Barney the fact that he is a prehistoric creature is never addressed. Also, is Barney the parent of Baby Bop, BJ, and Riff or maybe the big brother? I'd like some clarification of the family tree.