bears, bears, bears: join us for some summer fun!

                                    The Vanderbears have a little smackerel. 

What: Teddy Bear and Friends Summer Picnic

Where: jama rattigan’s alphabet soup

When: July – August

Why: To celebrate Paddington’s 50th and Corduroy’s 40th Birthdays

How to participate: Post pictures of your teddy, blog about your childhood bear or your favorite bear books, share stories about how bears have comforted in times of distress, what joy they have brought to others, or what part they have played in your life. Tell us about any bear stories, poems or songs you have written, or show us any pieces of bear art you have created. And don’t forget real-life bears — can you recommend any good books about pandas, polar bears, koalas or grizzlies? Leave me a comment on any upcoming post so I can link to you.

Attire: Come as you are, and bring your teddy!

Oh, hello. How’s your summer going so far? 

Around here, the resident bears are definitely up for a picnic. There’s nothing teddies love more than lazy summer days, lots of yummy treats, and good friends to play with. Especially for you, they’ve dusted off their favorite books, dug out a few recipes, and vigorously brushed their fur. Some have even succumbed to bathing!

This year, they are especially excited about the birthdays of two VIBs (Very Important Bears): Paddington and Corduroy, beloved by all who know a good bear story when they hear one. Michael Bond has written a brand new Paddington novel, Paddington Here and Now (HarperCollins, 2008), with pen-and-ink drawings by R.W. Alley, just released in May. Not to be outdone, Corduroy is boasting a special 40th Anniversary edition of his original story, released by Viking Juvenile in March.

        Cover Image     Cover Image

Most of you probably know the Teddy Bears’ Picnic Song, music by John Walter Bratton (1907), with lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy (1932). (Cute video here.) There have been several picture books featuring these lyrics over the years, but my favorite is this edition featuring illustrations by Alexandra Day (of Good Dog, Carl, fame), originally published by Green Tiger Press in 1983.

There’s also a companion book, The Teddy Bears’ Picnic Cookbook, by Abigail Darling, pictures by Alexandra Day (Green Tiger Press, 2003), which suggests other types of picnics teddies love — breakfast, rainy day, and even one with a French theme. All charming and delicious!

Now, I must confess that I never had a childhood teddy bear. Before you feel sorry for me, rest assured that I have more than made up for this lack during adulthood. I now live with over 300 bears of all sizes and ilk — character bears like Paddington, Pooh, Corduroy and Smokey; promotional bears and advertising bears, mass produced bears, and one-of-a-kind artist-made bears. Teddies never discriminate — they are loved equally by both genders and all age groups worldwide. No other toy, embodying so completely the essence of childhood, can make this claim.

This summer I will be reading my bear books:

writing on my bear stationery,

playing with my bear rubber stamps,

and in the alphabet soup kitchen, drinking out of bear cups.

I think you get the idea.

Please help me spread the word out there in blogland.

Come to the picnic, and show me your bears!!

I can hardly wait!  Me too!



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