There’s a bright spot for children (and their adults) amidst all the sad news worldwide now about the COVID-19 pandemic. A cute children’s picture book written 30 years ago by a British storyteller and performer named Michael Rosen has been making the headlines recently, with TV broadcasts on CNN, the BBC and several TV stations in New Zealand.
Meet the author of “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.” Born to Jewish parents Harold and Connie in the East End section of London in 1946 and soon to turn 74, Rosen is a popular comic storyteller in Britain and now on the cusp of a second career as a coronavirus pied piper giving children around the world a new way of dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak.
Rosen didn’t start the trend. It happened like this, according to online news sources. Some parents in London placed a message a few weeks ago on their Facebook page suggesting that it might be fun to take children on short “bear hunts” in the UK while looking in the windows of neighbor’s houses for stuffed teddy bears, large or small.
The resulting TV news videos were charming, with kids in London, the USA and New Zealand going outside for short teddy bear hunts.
As a result, Rosen was interviewed on TV by reporters, although he said nothing on camera and preferred just to wave hello and goodbye. According to sources, Rosen does not want to profit in any way from sudden new sales of his old book. So he’s keeping his distance, and social distance, from the media.
I like Michael Rosen. There’s a popular 5-minute YouTube video of him reciting the verses from his picture book, and it’s received over 12 million page views worldwide in the past 12 years. Try to find it if you can.
Rosen’s a ham, a comic, a children’s storyteller and an animated performer. And a mensch.
Back when he was 23, he published a memoir of his early life as a Jewish kid growing up in London, and he titled it, using a choice Yiddish humor term, “They Called Me a Pisher.” That book is still in print, too.