Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Bearing Witness

Bears are obliging creatures. They can be held up to terrify us with their implacable savagery or they can be infantilised to amuse us with their cuddly charms. We can thrill to the horror of being casually dismembered by an ursine enragé or be captivated by winsome tales of adorable cubs. In the postcard universe bears are working for Homeland Security and make well-behaved visitors at the tea table. Bears are useful product ambassadors for business – symbolising unrivalled strength or cheery good humour. In the world of books for children a useful guide to threat assessment is to relate it to the amount of clothing on the bear. A well-dressed bear is a benevolent presence whereas an unclothed specimen is unlikely to be well intentioned. Below we have a number of illustrators who have risen to the challenge including Rojan, Leslie Brook, Freda Derrick, Alfred Bestall, Arnrid Johnson, Clifford Webb and G H Thompson. 

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