We're going on a bear hunt
April 13, 2014 5:59 AM   Subscribe

Former teacher, poet, socialist and writer Michael Rosen talks to illustrator Helen Oxenbury about the publication 25 years ago of their classic children's story We're Going On A Bear Hunt. Based on a skit Rosen did as part of his one man show, his own performance is still the best and just one of the many performance videos available at his Youtube channel.
posted by MartinWisse (19 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Also from the Guardian: How we made Going on a Bear Hunt.

I remember singing this as a round when I was in Cubs and Scouts in the UK, so it certainly dates back to the Seventies at least.
posted by arcticseal at 6:11 AM on April 13, 2014

Oh I love this! My brother read Bear Hunt (in the Rosen style) to both my nieces from when they were babies and I have some lovely clips of them looking up at him transfixed, and doing the "ooh, wooh" and lifting and lowering their wee hands in the "we can't go over it we can't go under it" bits before they could talk. Thanks for this!

And now it will be in my head all day :)
posted by billiebee at 6:19 AM on April 13, 2014

What a beautiful day!
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:38 AM on April 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

I remember singing this song and acting out the motions in preschool, and that would've been... oh, 1986? Had no idea that there was a book made of it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:40 AM on April 13, 2014

Thank you for bringing this back to mind!
posted by michellenoel at 6:50 AM on April 13, 2014

Yes, this predates Rosen, the poem/song has been around for a while, it's one of those things that can't be attributed (at least as best as I can find) to a specific author. It's also been done as "We're going on a lion hunt". I remember using this with the scouts back in the 70's and early 80's.

That said, Rosen's very expressive version is well done!

Thanks for the post, it brought back some very neat memories of sitting around summer campfires!
posted by HuronBob at 6:54 AM on April 13, 2014

I knew this as 'Going on a Lion Hunt, from South African primary school in the 1970s. It's weird that these guys are credited with writing a 'classic' for adapting an earlier story.
posted by Flashman at 7:04 AM on April 13, 2014

I never understood why you couldn't go around the tree.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:06 AM on April 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Trees. The "forest" in the story/game would be too volumnous to pass, and too tall for a ladder or plane, etc.
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:17 AM on April 13, 2014

An added voice to the data points saying that this is older than 25 years old... I'm 41, and definitely recall this from when I was a kid in Beavers or Cub Scouts, so 1979-83 or thereabouts.
posted by Shepherd at 7:40 AM on April 13, 2014

This just blew my 18 month old daughter's mind SO HARD.
posted by saladin at 10:12 AM on April 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

GOING ON A LION HUNT (going on a lion hunt)
BIG LION (big lion)
I'M NOT AFRAID (I'm not afraid)...

Early sixties family camp.
posted by tspae at 10:54 AM on April 13, 2014

It's dark...
It's smelly...
... It's a BEAR!
posted by arcticseal at 12:34 PM on April 13, 2014

Sure the song has been around a long time, but Oxenbury made it a classic. (From arcticseal's link: "The editors said this was one of the most amazing books they had ever seen.") It's a fantastic book to read to a child, as well as a fantastic book to look at.

Thank you for bringing this back to mind indeed.
posted by LeLiLo at 2:01 PM on April 13, 2014

I've always loved how dejected the bear looks at the end.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:07 AM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Top 100 Kids Books That You Should've Read to Your Kid Already If You're Not a Bad Parent

What a thoroughly annoying title. Why couldn't it be "100 Books You Should Read to Your Kid"?
posted by rory at 6:06 AM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Because humour.
posted by billiebee at 6:54 AM on April 14, 2014


Top 100 Ways You Would've Already Heard You're a Bad Parent.
posted by rory at 6:57 AM on April 14, 2014

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