A Parent’s Perspective: “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”

(Amazon)

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, written by Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle, was originally published in 1967. This beloved children’s book has been translated into 31 languages and has sold more than 16 million copies. If you have a small child, or ever were a small child, or have heard of the concept of small children, you are familiar with Brown Bear, Brown Bear. So what is it about this particular story that has made it a mainstay on toddlers’ bookshelves for over 50 years?

This is a gif of my kid. (Sally Brooks)

I have no fucking clue.

Synopsis

Bear, B. Bear starts with us, the audience, asking our titular character, Brown Bear what he sees. He answers that he sees a red bird looking at him.

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Turn the page and we do in fact see a red bird, who, when questioned, tells us that she sees a yellow duck. Set aside that the question we should be asking these variously colored animals is HOLY SHIT, HOW CAN YOU TALK?, over the next seven pages the audience asks, “What can you see?” of a yellow duck, blue horse, green frog, purple cat, white dog, black sheep, and goldfish.

The first real twist of the book comes when the goldfish reveals that what he sees is not another animal, but instead a teacher looking at him. Surprising, because all this time the reader assumes they are out in nature, maybe at a zoo, but instead we’re in some kind of classroom? A classroom that has zero health codes or concern for the animal food chain, at that.

The teacher says she sees children and the children see…

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Unfortunately, the children just see all the animals we already talked about.

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And that’s it. That’s the whole book. Like, for real. 16 million copies sold.

Critique

Some will argue that the beauty in Brown Bear’s story is its simplicity. After all, this is a book for small children and they are notoriously bad at following complicated plots. Try watching Cloud Atlas with a 2-year-old and I guarantee they won’t even notice that the film subtly shifts genres with each storyline. But beyond the very basic lessons of animals and colors– a confusing lesson at that, since I’ve never seen a purple cat outside of the time my friend’s kid took a marker to Mr. Mittens—Brown Bear doesn’t have much to offer. There are a lot of books that help kids with colors and animals that haven’t found a fraction of the success of Brown Bear and some of them even manage to throw in a story line for funsies.

I would argue that the story in Brown Bear, if you can even call it that, raises more questions than it answers—particularly when it comes to logistics. Think about it- the audience asks Brown Bear what he sees and he says that he sees a red bird looking at him, but when we ask Red Bird what she sees, she makes no mention of looking at a bear and instead says she sees a yellow duck. If we are to believe Brown Bear that Red Bird really is looking at him, and believe Red Bird that she is seeing Yellow Duck (and so on and so on, since every animal names a different animal from the one who they are supposedly looking at), then where are all of these animals standing to make this possible? Are they on some sort of risers? And where are the children so that they are situated to see all of these animals and their teacher? After some pretty advanced logistics engineering (and approximately 3 IPAs), this is the best I could come up with, and it still doesn’t answer the question of how the children can be seeing every animal, all at once.

This is a chart I spent approx. 18 hours making (Sally Brooks' Beautiful Mind)

Bottom Line

Brown Bear, Brown Bear is at the same time too simplistic and too complicated. Plus, that drawing of the teacher gives me nightmares.

(Amazon)

The unfortunate truth is that my kid loves Brown Bear and yours probably will, too. My kid also loves watching a video of me making fart noises and spinning in circles, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually good (it is) (but Brown Bear isn’t).

Son Surprises Ailing Dad With Tickets To College World Series

Father’s Day is a special time to celebrate your old man, and show him how much you appreciate the role he’s played in your life all these years. Especially since, as we get older, our dads do too, and they may not have many Father’s Days left.

Matt Lea recognized that this Father’s Day, and so went out of his way to make it a memorable one, for both him and his father, both former college baseball players who bonded over the game as Matt was growing up.

Matt’s father Billy suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, and the symptoms have been accruing rapidly. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for more memories, and Matt used the latest Father’s Day as an opportunity to do just that. The 36-year-old drove 12 hours, from Florida to Mississippi, and surprised his parents at their doorstep on Sunday.

He was bearing gifts as well, bringing his dad the jersey of his favorite baseball team, Mississippi State. But that wasn’t all. Matt brought tickets too, to see the College World Series in Omaha in person.

In video of the exchange that Matt posted on Twitter, his dad was clearly taken by surprise.

“I figured it’s probably not good enough just for us to watch the game here,” Matt says in the video as he produces the tickets. “How about we go to Omaha? Do you want to go up to Omaha and watch the College World Series together?”

“Golly,” an emotional Billy responds. “You’re gonna break my heart, here.”

Matt’s gift for his dad received a rapturous response from Twitter, where it’s been liked 46,000 times and retweeted 11,000 times.

Matt seemed as surprised by the response as his dad was by the gift, as everyone who celebrated Father’s Day yesterday knows, there’s nothing better than sharing meaningful memories with your dad, which is exactly what Matt did. An article on Omaha.com details Billy’s baseball past, the initial diagnosis of his Alzheimer’s, the VIP experience Matt treated him too over the weekend.

Matt’s Twitter account showcased the rest.

Happy Father’s Day!

Amazing Street Artist Uses Everyday Objects As His Canvas

(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Artist Tom Bob doesn’t see the world like other people. Where you and I might see sewer grates or metal pipes, he sees ghosts and saxophone players.

Check out some of the amazing ways he’s transforming parts of New York City into works of art.

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Check out more of Tom Bob and his unique artwork here.

Father Figures: Heroes

“On February 2, 2011, my daughter was born. The whole thing started pretty normally about 2:30 am or so, my wife woke me up and said, ‘Honey, it is time to go,’ so we went to the hospital in a snowstorm.

That was the easy part.

When they put the belly monitor on her they noticed that the babies heart rate would drop to low whenever my wife would have a contraction. She needed emergency C-section, but the doctor could not make it due to the storm, and when he finally arrived it was rush rush rush!
Well when my daughter Emily did arrive, she had internal bleeding throughout her body, which included two grade 4 brain bleeds. We could not touch her because she would bruise and start bleeding.
They had to life-flight her to the university, where she spent 5 1/2 weeks in the NICU, which left her (you may want to sit down) deaf/blind, with hydrocephalus, a shunt, cerebral palsy, and seizures (at age 6, she needed a baclofen pump because her CP got too bad to handle without it). She is doing great today. She is happy, loves life, and everyone who meets her says that she makes their day and she is beautiful.
To pay back our little community, I became a first responder, mostly a firefighter, but I did help with EMS. Never got my certification, but that is where I found out that in the U.S. we do not have any training for first responders to deal with children with special needs.
I have made it my personal mission to teach first responders about kids with special needs.
I have taken to Emily to every EMS/Fire station in the five counties around me. I have taken her to the police and sheriff’s departments to train them, and now I have a waiting list to get trained.
I don’t know if I am the hero here, but I needed to tell the story.”

– Mike Kuyper

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Low Cost Cosplay Guy Makes The World A Better Place

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Anucha “Cha” Saengchart, the genius behind “Low Cost Cosplay,” has amassed millions of followers with his incredible reimaginings of famous fictional characters.

Whether you’re planning on portraying your favorite anime character or a Marvel superhero, this guy can show you how to do it effectively and on a string budget.

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Can’t get enough? Check out more creative cosplay on his Facebook page.

Dad Turns Photos Of Daughter Into Kickass Album Covers

(Instagram/rfosterdesign)

When graphic designer Ryan Foster spotted a somber, black and white photo of his daughter, Harper Lou, it instantly reminded him of a blues album cover. He couldn’t help but throw some graphics onto the image to create her first “album” cover himself.

This has led to a series of album covers featuring Harper Lou, many of which look pretty damn legit. She may not be making actual records yet, but her dad will definitely be ready when she does.

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You can find more awesome album covers as well as other design projects by Ryan on his Instagram.

The 5 Hottest Father’s Day Tech Gifts Your Dad Will Ask To See The Receipt For

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Mother’s Day is in the rearview and our annual celebration of everything Dad is fast approaching. Sure, he loved those grilling tongs and Three Stooges boxsets you got him last year. But if there’s one things all dads love, it’s being assured that they’ve genetically passed on their cheapness. Here are 5 Father’s Day gadgets your dad is definitely going to demand the receipt for.

1. A smart speaker

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Source: Amazon

These have become relatively expensive in recent years. This, of course, isn’t going to stop your dad from assuming it set you back several thousand dollars. Your dad just figured out how to make a Facebook profile. He’s gonna need a minute on talking AI servants.

2. A streaming stick

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Source: Roku

“So yeah, you just plug this Roku stick into the TV and you can pretty much watch anything you want.” That’s you. That’s you telling your dad you just spent a boatload of money on a piece of technology. “Instant access to every movie ever made” is your dad’s cue to ask you to retrieve the Best Buy receipt crammed in the console’s cupholder.

3. A dashcam

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Source: Amazon

These are great to have in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, your dad is still under the impression it’s 1999 and all digital cameras cost ten million dollars. Be sure to keep this receipt in your wallet, because this thing’s going right back to the store if it ran you how much he thinks it ran you.

4. An e-reader

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Source: Amazon

What a lovely thought. Your dad, sitting up in bed, every book he could possibly want at his fingertips. What will he read first? A book about World War II? The biography of Henry Ford? The answer is, of course, the receipt for this fancy reading tablet that probably set you back three mortgage payments.

5. A yearly-subscription to a music streaming service

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Source: Spotify

You just want him to be able to listen to the Doobie Brothers whenever he wants. But by his math, if buying a single song on iTunes costs $1, and Spotifly, as he calls it, gives you access to over four million songs, you’ve essentially just bankrupted your family. Good job. Be sure to keep that receipt handy to prove to him that he can still see his grandkids attend college one day.