The Bear That Wasn't Author:Frank Tashlin Here is a book that we simply cannot classify. It is not wholly an adult book, not is it wholly a juvenile. It is delightfully humorous, yet it has as many serious implications as the reader sees in it. It just doesn't fall into categories. If we were forced to classify it, we would probably call it a fable, since it deals with an animal, a bear... more » who awakens to find himself in the midst of civilization.
What does it mean? Some readers have found it simply delightful wry humor. Others see it as a satire upon business. Still others think it is an existential cartoon-story upon the human situation. And still others think it is a symbolization of the struggle between conformity and the individual, between the essential biological self and the new demands of a complex society-- between Thoreauian simplicity and bureaucratic complexity. We ourselves hesitate to analyze it or explain it for fear of destroying its charm and irrepressible vitality. Let us simply say that despite all differences of classification and interpretation, it has long been an underground favorite with readers of all ages and opinions.
Here is what reviewers had to say of the first edition. "Go ahead and enjoy the 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. "It is fable for grownups that will be fun for children. Sit down with the book and get your own bearings," New York Herald Tribune.