NYRB News


A Classic book for Adults and Children singled out on NPR’s Weekend Edition

Recently Scott Simon and Daniel Pinkwater made a giant step into making the genius of Frank Tashlin more recognizable by featuring the newly released The Bear That Wasn’t on NPR’s Weekend Edition. Laughing between reading aloud about fumbling factory workers, fake fur coats, and a bear declaring his bearness, Scott Simon praised the story with it’s “wonderful pictures and even some political satire to appeal to adults who read it as well.” Daniel Pinkwater goes on to name it “a classic. And the proof of that is that it is now coming out…from the wonderful and magnificent New York Review Children’s Collection.”

Chances are that once in your life you’ve come across Frank Tashlin, even though you may not know it. He was a tireless author and director of satirical comedy—writing gag skits for the Marx Brothers and Lucille Ball, screenwriting for Bob Hope and Red Skeleton, and directing Jerry Lewis movies and screwball comedies, films like “The Girl Can’t Help It” and “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?”. He was also an accomplished animator, drawing comic strips for his junior high school newspaper in Queens in his youth, then later moving to Hollywood and working at MGM, Warner Brothers, and Disney (where he helped organize its embattled animators’ union). 

He took this gift of making light of what’s wrong and standing up for what’s right with The Bear That Wasn’t. Redefining the phrase “Grin and bear it,” this is not a story about a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but rather a glorious modern day fable about standing up in the world and being true to yourself when there are obstacles and other people that oftentimes make you feel otherwise.