About the Holiday
Photography is all about providing information through images. A picture really can be worth a thousand words in capturing a moment of surprise, joy, danger, or even sadness. Well-placed photographers, videographers, and cinematographers have given voice to some of society’s pivotal moments, allowing the whole world to witness change, sometimes as it happens. Today we celebrate photographers who often put themselves in danger to get the story as well as those who bring us much-needed lighter moments.
Breaking News: Bear Alert
By David Biedrzycki
Jean Louis, a television host on Our Furry Planet looks out from the screen at a little boy and his teddy bear watching from their family room. He’s brought the video camera into a bear’s den “somewhere in North America.” With a pointy stick he motions towards a sleeping bear as he explains the facts about hibernation. “Look,” he says, poking his stick into the bear’s nose, “even when prodded they don’t wake up. But spring is a busy time for brown bears. Soon they will emerge from their den, hungry for food, hungry for adven—AAAAAAAAAAH!!!” The bear grabs the reporter’s stick as the screen goes dark.
The Skycam 3 News Helicopter takes over as two bears escape into the wider community. They catch a ride on the top of the Our Furry Planet truck carrying the reporter who scans the area and is relieved to find they have outrun the bears. Close observers will notice a pair of suspicious-looking characters first seen out the boy’s window now riding a motorcycle with a sidecar.
The bears are next spotted by the Main Street traffic camera. In an inset the Our Furry driver describes his encounter with the bears as the cameraman stands disheveled behind him: “Well, that big ol’ bear came at us with his claws out like this. I told him to scoot and chased both of them away!” But is this bragging warranted? The reality may be more that the driver and cameraman ran away screaming while the bears peacefully took in the sights.
The bears are later found on security video at Teddy’s Diner, where the sign specifically states that “No Bare Feet” are allowed. The diner’s owner and head chef, Teddy Bahr, reveals that he’ll “cook for anyone as long as they’re not barefoot and that the bears were barefoot.” According to the scrolling alert, the bears “demanded to be fed” and indeed are shown gulping down a bowl of porridge at the counter. The golden-haired waitress, Mrs. Locks exclaims for the camera, “I almost had a heart attack…Those bears had no manners, and they paid me with acorns.”
Hmmm…the diner’s TV is relating a story about cat burglars that seem awfully familiar. And is that them again entering an electronics store at Pooh Street and Main Street, where the bears have just turned the corner? A boy yells for his mom as the bears take over his kiddie ride, but she’s too busy on her phone and discovering she’s on TV to pay attention. The scrolling alert warns parents to be on the lookout as the bears “are wild and could be extremely dangerous.”
The bears continue their journey through town, dancing to street a performer while a “cat burglar” raids the band’s donation box, taking their pictures in a photo booth, and watching all the commotion as agents of Animal Control sprea through the streets. The Paddington Department Store spies the bears on the escalator, but does it also catch something—or someone—else at the jewelry department?
Suddenly, a police officer bursts out of the department store door to chase the robbers as the Breaking News report declares that there has been a burglary at the store. Skycam 3 spots the suspects fleeing on foot! And in a moment the perpetrators have been caught! Breaking News: “Bears nab burglars.” Once the scourge of the town, the bears are now heroes. The Breaking News reports “Crowd applauds departing bear heroes. We now return you to your regularly scheduled story.”
There’s so much going on in David Biedrzycki’s Breaking News: Bear Alert, that the minimal text doesn’t begin to hint at all the hidden surprises and silliness that kids will love on each page. Bear puns and other jokes abound on every page and in nearly every illustrated detail. Characters’ names, menu items, framed pictures, street names, and more offer up humorous allusions to other bear-related people, books, and entertainment for adults and kids.
Readers of all ages will want to linger over every vivid, full-bleed page to catch all the hilarious happenings and allusions, and especially to follow the subplot that is cleverly inserted along the way. The frame of an animal discovery television show is a sly wink at the genre and one that kids and adults will be familiar with and enjoy.
Bear in mind that kids may be clawing to read this book again and again, and not having Breaking News: Bear Alert on the shelf may pose a very hairy situation indeed!
Ages 4 – 10
Charlesbridge, 2014 | ISBN 978-1580896634
To learn more about David Biedrzycki and his books and to view a gallery of his artwork, visit his website!
Don’t hbernate! Watch this beary funny book trailer!
World Photography Day Activity
Picture Perfect Bear Coloring Page
Imagine you’re taking a picture of this bear in a tree. What else do you see? Draw in the details and then color your printable Picture Perfect Bear Coloring Page.