Big. Big brown. Big brown bear.
|My old friend.|
This is Big Brown Bear. He's a bit worn out. His stuffing is clumpy, the blacks of his eyes are chipped. He is a well-loved bear. He lives on a shelf, high up in the girls' bedroom. When I watch a Toy Story movie, my thoughts turn to him and I feel guilty... until I remember I'm watching an animated movie and that toys are not really alive.
This isn't really a nostalgia post. This is about a book and toy that never really left.
This was my favorite book as a small, small fry. The Berenstains' B Book by Stan & Jan Berenstain, from the Bright & Early series by Random House. It was first published in 1971. My copy is a book club edition.
It is also as worn and well-loved as my teddy bear. Look at that poor, poor binding!
And this is where Big Brown Bear got his name.
I can quote this entire book. "Big. Big brown bear. Big brown bear, blue bull..."
There's blue bull!
"Big brown bear, blue bull, beautiful baboon..."
And alliterative chaos ensues!
I loved this book so much as a child. I gave it to my little brother when he was born. When I first started my old bookselling job, fresh out of college - putting that theatre degree to good use! - this was another book I looked up, hoping to find another copy. Strangely enough, it was available... and as a bargain book!
Copy number 2 is a reissue. The new cover is from 1997, and the cute endpapers are replaced with generic Bright and Early papers.
But it's what's on the INSIDE that counts!
And see? It was the same.
So a funny thing happened. When I moved in with my husband, I left my new bargain copy behind. Some years passed, Big Sis was born, and my mom and brother gifted me with old books and toys that had belonged to me.
However, my old copy was in such shabby condition. I happened upon a nice book club edition at a used bookstore one day and couldn't resist it. Then I found the bargain edition at my dad's, and now we have THREE copies!
|One for me, one for Big Sis, and one for Little Sis?|
Oh, and when I bought my bargain copy, I ordered the Berenstains' A Book and C Book (first published as C is for Clown) too. I didn't even know those existed!
Big Brown Bear is staring at me while I type this.
I'm starting to feel guilty again.
Stupid Toy Story.