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The Bear That Wasn't (New York Review Collections
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About the Author

Frank Tashlin (1913-1972) was born in New Jersey and raised in Queens, New York. As a teenager he worked as an errand boy, inker, and animator at several pioneering animation
studios in New York. By 1933 he had moved to Hollywood, where he wrote and directed cartoon shorts for MGM and Warner Bros., and briefly served as head of production at Screen Gems. Tashlin also worked for a while at Disney Studios, helping to organize its embattled animators' union. During his early years in California, Tashlin drew a syndicated
pantomime-style cartoon strip called Van Boring, and during the Second World War, he worked on the military's Private Snafu series (created by Frank Capra and Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel). Though he retired from animation in the mid-1940s, Tashlin is recognized as an influential stylist who brought cinematographic techniques and inventive "camera" angles to the medium. Moving from cartoons to live action, Tashlin worked for a time as a comedy writer before fulfilling his ambition to write and direct feature films. He is best known for his collaborations with Jerry Lewis and Bob Hope, and for screwball comedies like The Girl Can't Help It and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Tashlin has described The Bear That Wasn't (1946) as "precious and special to me." It was followed by two more picture books, The 'Possum That Didn't (1950) and The World That Wasn't (1951).

Reviews

"Like a good many modern satirical fables about animals, this falls heavily between the stools of adult and juvenile interest." - The New York Times

"It is a fable for grownups that will be fun for children. Sit down with the book and get your own bearings." -New York Herald Tribune "If you do not laugh at The Bear That Wasn't you are not only a member of the human group, you are an agelast and you deserve it. An agelast (see Rabelais) is a silly man in a fur coat who needs a shave and doesn't think it's funny." -Saturday Review of Literature "Go ahead and enjoythe book, which is thoroughly funny throughout...Mr. Tashlin's bear is very ingratiating and provides a good deal of fun for all members of the family." -Springfield Republican "Mr. Tashlin's earlier masterpiece, The Bear That Wasn't is a genially savage lampoon on the The Civilized People Who Aren't." -Los Angeles Times "...a good story with wonderful pictures and even some political satire to appeal to adults who read it, as well." -Scott Simon, Weekend Edition Saturday, NPR "...it's a classic. And the proof of that is that it is now coming out...from the wonderful and magnificent New York Review of Books Children's Collection. [The Bear That Wasn't] has been hanging around since 1946, with wonderful pen and ink drawings." -Daniel Pinkwater, Weekend Edition Saturday, NPR

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