Friday, September 24, 2010

Fun Fur Facts Friday: Bears in Literature

Growing up, I was a voracious reader. I remember stacks of books coming home from the library with us, and that's not including the books wedged tightly into every inch of the bookcase in the living room. I know that my parents fostered a love of the written word and illustrations in me very early on because they read to me. They may have tired or grown a bit raspy in voice, but that doesn't stick out in my memory. Their loving gift of reading to me does.

And now, I still love to read, but I also do it as a profession. I am a proofreader for an advertising agency, once again exposed each day to words and images. I love my job, but that's not why I'm writing this blog post for you today, dear reader. Today I would like to take you back to your childhood, when you heard the classics, the fairy tales, the Mother Goose rhymes. And I know there are images in your head that might be different from mine.

Bears have their place in literature and legend. I would like to explore that subject some more in the coming season, but today, I'd like to share an illustration that so masterfully brings to life one of the most-loved classic fairy tales, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, attributed to the Brothers Grimm.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Scott Gustafson

As I look at the details in this painting (click for a larger view) by Scott Gustafson, one of my favorite painters, the story comes flooding back. I can almost picture myself there as it unfolds, as Goldilocks uses the belongings of all three bears and then retires for a nap. Imagine her shocked surprise in the next instant to see these three bears scrutinizing her!

There are many different versions of the story written for children, with likely just as many different illustrations of the key scenes of the story. What scene sticks out the most in your mind?


  1. Thank you, Debora.

    I sat and read your posting and then just took a wonderful trip down memory lane remembering story time with my parents.


  2. I love books too, especially children's books. And the ones with illustrations like the one in your post - fabulous! So inspirational. I think it's a real gift when someone can dream up and illustrate a scene from their imagination with just a few words to go by. There are lots of books and scenes from my memory so I'd be hard pressed to choose just one. Maybe it would be from the Night Before Christmas because my mom loved Christmas so much and would read the story to us every year.

    Some nice memories. Makes me want to go pull a book off the shelf and get lost for a while.


  3. Wonderful memories of wonderful stories. I too have a passion for reading and of course, storytelling. So much magic and fun.
    I think in this particular story the porridge scene sticks out the most. Not sure why, but I guess I just like saying the word porridge. hee,hee,hee.
    xx, shell

  4. Oh I love reading too. My mum taught me to read when I was 3, and I have devoured books ever since. This does bring slightly odd looks when I point out that I'm dyslexic, but there are some plus sides to this - I have memory issues so I can read and re-read books without necessarily remembering what's going to happen :oD

    I have to read to get to sleep, although when I'm really tired the dyslexia really kicks in and the words are all jumbled, which is a pain, but I just go back and try again the next night!

  5. Hello,
    I am Leny from the Netherlands.I am a teddy bear artist too.I love the picture from the book.I adore old childrens books.And I love your bears!!I will follow your blog.Hope you will visit mine,Thank you,

  6. Hello Debora. I too am a lover of Scott Gustafson's art..there is such detail in his work you want to step into each one!

    I also love to read and the library is one of my absolute favorite places..I always leave with a huge stack of books!

    I'm not sure I could actually pick a favorite scene...I love them all.


  7. Hi Debora!
    I am thrilled to learn the name of that painting. I once saw a copy - just a poster, I suspect - in a pediatric clinic at an army post where we were stationed. There was no indication as to artist or title. Well, I guess there could have been on the back, but one doesn't dislodge a photo gallery especially with youngsters in tow waiting for shots or something else that's not pleasant.
    I am so glad to see that you will be part of the online show in November as well!
    Thanks again for the information!!!
    Big hug,


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