The Whole Bear Thing

                     The paddle-bear reminds me I need to explain the whole “bear” thing. Many toys need some sort of pilot, or driver. Years ago I discovered carving little human figures to put into various toys was way too hard. As a substitute I started putting simple animals in place of human operators. Cats, seals, dogs, and bears. Here is a catboat sailed by, naturally, two cats.


A tomcat fighter flown by…


For his birthday, I once made a pond yacht for my eldest nephew to sail with his grandfather in the toy boat pond in Central Park. As an after thought I added two little bears sailing the boat and painted “Bearable” on the transom of the yacht.


When the little yacht was unwrapped, my niece, who was at the time four-going on forty, announced; “Bears do not belong on boats”. When asked where bears belong, she answered with total certainty, “Bears”, she said, pausing for emphasis, “belong in the zoo”. This became a running joke between us, and since then I have been putting little bears in many of the toys that I make for her,and her brothers. Here are two bears driving a steam engine.


It may be harder to make out, but there are two bears here piloting this tug.




One Response to “The Whole Bear Thing”

  1. Wooden Corsair #1 « Dovetails Says:

    […] The toy will be varnished wood, with a clear canopy over the cockpit, and a bear as the pilot. If you don’t know why a bear is flying a Corsair you need to read “the whole bear thing”. […]

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