Occasionally I can be so forgetful that I surprise even myself. I mean, how could Old Bear slip from my conscious mind so completely? We lived for Old Bear (and all the others; Little Bear and the various non-Bears). Both Offsprings loved him and I definitely did. We read the books countless times and when Old Bear became a television star, we were with him all the way.
And yet, when a few weeks ago I read about the exhibition to celebrate 30 years of Old Bear – in Brighton later this month – I realised I’d not thought about Old Bear and his friends for a long time. Natural, I daresay, for ancient people with grown-up children, but I write daily about children’s books and there can be absolutely no excuse.
‘You must be jolly tall,’ was the spontaneous comment* when the others met the giraffe. And Jolly Tall he was. That, to me, epitomised the whole series of books. Humorous, warm, normal, and very enjoyable. Books that you can read again and again and not be bored.
Just thinking about Old Bear once more, I can feel the love flooding back. Little Bear who is so, well, little, and bouncy. And Old Bear who is old and sensible and a true father figure to all. And the others; Jolly Tall and Sailor and Duck. I suspect there’s the odd new character I’ve not been properly introduced to, who has arrived during the intervening years.
A new book to celebrate the 30 years, Happy Birthday Old Bear, is available now. Hip hip hurrah!
*Please note I still remembered this quote.