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.

(Amazon)

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…

(Giphy)

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

(Amazon)

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).

Big Dad Rides Small Bike as a Tribute to Late Daughter

(JustGiving/Peter Williams)

On Friday at 10am, Peter Williams of Penzance, England began his 211-mile ride to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity.

In 2015, Peter lost his 7-year-old daughter, Ellie, to a rare form of brain cancer, only six months after she was diagnosed.

He decided to begin his ride at Bristol Children’s Hospital where Ellie was treated. He’s also honoring his daughter by making the entire trip on her little pink bike, which is only 20″ high. Given Peter is 6 feet tall, that’s going to make for an additional challenge, but he’s up for it. He estimates the ride from Bristol to Land’s End will take him a week to complete.

Aside from a small modification to the bike’s seat, he’ll be riding the bike as-is. “My knees clear the handlebars by about half an inch so it’s going to be really tight, but it’s a great bike,” he told the BBC.

Ellie loved cycling and impressed her dad at age three, when she was able to ride without training wheels.

(JustGiving/Peter Williams)

The bike he’ll be riding was her pride and joy – a present she received for her last Christmas.

So far Peter has raised £22,499 (roughly $30K US) through his JustGiving campaign, already doubling his £10,000 target.

What a guy! What a dad! Go, Peter, go!

If you’d like donate to Peter’s campaign, visit his JustGiving page.

If you want to learn more about where the money is going, you can visit The Brain Tumour Charity.

Father and Son Escape Burning Truck in the Nick of Time

(News Channel Nebraska)

When 19-year old Minnesota man Kobe Sammons drove 500 miles to visit his family in Nebraska he thought he was leaving the heat from his welding job behind. When he arrived he told to his father, Jeremy, that his ride just wasn’t running right. So his dad hopped in the truck and the two went for a drive in hopes of discovering what the problem was.

A short while later they pulled over when Jeremy noticed smoke had entered the cabin of the truck. The smoke quickly turned to heat and it became apparent the engine compartment was on fire.

That’s when both men attempted to open their doors but they would not unlock.

The father wondered if this would be their final moments together.

“I told him he would have to break the glass or kick the door open. I couldn’t help him.” the elder Sammons told News Channel Nebraska.

But eventually Kobe was able to kick the door open.

“It was in those moments. Just when it had to open, the door opened.” Kobe’s dad said.

By the time firefighters arrived the truck was completely engulfed in flames. Authorities on the scene considered that the fire may have caused the doors’ unlocking mechanism to malfunction.

The truck can easily be replaced, the important thing is that this father and son duo escaped unharmed.

75-Year-Old Volunteer Literally Takes Catnaps at Animal Shelter

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

If you’re a cat lover you’ll probably agree that 75-year-old Wisconsinite Terry Lauerman is living the dream. He spends most days volunteering at his local animal shelter snoozing with cats.

Lauerman begins his day at Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary where he brushes any cat that needs it, then ends up catching a few z’s with his feline friends. The cats and staff at the shelter love the service Lauerman provides and so do thousands of others because of a viral Facebook post about him.

Elizabeth Feldhausen, the founder of Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary, told The Huffington Post that Lauerman never signed up to be a volunteer but just showed up one day, armed with a cat brush and dream to help some kitties.

“He just walked in and started brushing,” Feldhausen said. “So eventually we told him he was an official volunteer and had him fill out our volunteer form.”

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

Safe Haven is a cage-free, no-kill shelter aimed at rehabilitating cats with special needs who would likely be euthanized elsewhere. Feldhausen says Lauerman usually comes in for about three hours every day—he’ll start by brushing a cat but usually ends up dozing off.

“He sleeps for about an hour, then he’ll wake up and switch cats,”

The cats aren’t the only ones benefitting from his visits, though. “He said, [the brushing is] as great of an experience for him, as it is for them,” said Feldhausen.

(Facebook/Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.)

The post about Lauerman has received tons of positive attention and according to Feldhausen, they’ve received about $20,000 in donations since the post went viral.

While Lauerman is happy to have brought so much attention to Safe Haven, he wants people to know that there are plenty of other volunteers that put in hours of hard work to make sure the cats are loved and cared for.

Unlike them, however, Lauerman can do it in his sleep.

Father Figures: So Be It

“My money is tight living here in Silicon Valley.

My daughters are both really smart and take advanced classes, which takes a shit load of money for tests, materials and such. I too play the ‘money is tight’ card around holidays and birthdays, but I work my ass off and find side jobs. As many as I can to make sure they have the best day possible on those special occasions.

If that means not buying myself anything for the rest of my life, so be it.

They always come first, and I believe they will appreciate the struggles later on in life, and they’ll be better off for it.”

– Mauro Hernandez

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

Dad’s Panoramic Photo of Daughter Goes Horribly Wrong and Viral

(Twitter/sc_x_cs)

With new phones constantly boasting advancements in camera technology, it’s no wonder some people have trouble keeping up—dads in particular.

Just ask 21-year-old Twitter user Simran. She recently came to terms with the fact that her father is a bit more technologically-challenged than she realized.

Here’s how Simran appears when she’s directing the photo shoot:

While on vacation her dad attempted to snap a unique picture of her. He insisted on trying out his iPhone X’s panoramic photo mode. As you probably expect, the photo didn’t turn out quite as planned.

“My dad told me to stand by the apples because he said he discovered a new way to take pano pics vertically,” Simran told Mashable. “I agreed to it and this was the result.”

“When he saw them he said ‘they look great’ and then I saw them and completely lost it. I mean, are you kidding me? I look like an Alien,” she said.

A number of people chimed in and made fun comparisons to some pretty unflattering images.

Clearly, Simran has been a good sport and we commend her dad for a bold attempt at harnessing advanced photo technology. But perhaps he should stick with the old fashioned point-and-shoot method from now on?