The Bear Must Go On by Dev Petty and Brandon Todd

Hello, Dev! Thank you for stopping by to celebrate The Bear Must Go On! I have read it aloud many times. It makes me laugh out loud and SMILE from ear to ear. 

I love The Bear Must Go On's book trailer. What do you want everyone to know before they press PLAY?

Dev Petty: Wonderful! It makes me smile too. I think before they press PLAY, they should read this Arthur Miller quote because it is really spot on. 

The theatre is so endlessly fascinating because it's so accidental. It's so much like life.

--Arthur Miller

I was inspired by my own kids to write this book since they loved putting on shows when they were little. They'd agonize over every detail. They would hand-draw tickets and programs, pick snacks, make costumes and props. Then they'd bring us grownups into the “theatre” (the living room with pillows on the floor) and dim the lights before their big entrance. Almost every time, they'd walk through the curtain (blanket) and realize they'd forgotten to do ONE VERY IMPORTANT THING. I won't spoil it for you, but it did result in a lot of improv.

Please finish the following sentence starters:

Brandon Todd’s illustrations
 are bright and lively! His stylized point of view brings so much color and movement to the forest and he's great with the details. I love how he plays with text, as if the ideas are actually popping into the air. My favorite part? The paste-down with all the hats...delightful.

Bear is a lot like me when I was young, more comfortable behind the scenes than in the spotlight. But theatre encourages kids to take risks and to find their voice. Like Bear, I found my voice in on the stage. I was always so scared to be noticed or to make a fool of myself and when I found theatre I knew I was home because being noticed and making a fool of yourself are required skills and it turns out I desperately wanted to be in a place where I could do just that. 

The Bear Must Go On is
 my first published book written in third person! Doesn't sound like a big deal, but it is for me since everything to this point has been in dialogue so it's fun to have a new aspect to my writing. This book has so many things I love: Bears, squirrels, theatre, nuts, silliness...I think it's lots of fun. My wonderful editor, Talia Benamy, and amazing agent Jennifer Rof√© helped me bring this story to life and I don't think I've ever edited a story so much! I'm thrilled with how it came out. I didn't see many other picture books about theatre so I hope loads of kids discover and connect with it. 

Theatre is such a great place for kids. Not every kid is good at, or wants to play sports and theatre can give them the feeling of being on a team. It's a place open to everyone, especially those who sometimes struggle to fit in elsewhere. It's lively and accidental, just like life- you make mistakes, things go wrong, you just have to keep going, (try not to get the giggles), and take a bow.

Story is change. Really, that's it. Story is about how characters change and evolve. People can feel stuck, kids can feel stuck, and that's why storytelling is so important because it reminds us that we are constantly evolving even when we aren't aware of it. My favorite quote is by Piet Hein, the Danish author, mathematician, inventor- who said “Art is the solving of problems that cannot be expressed until they are solved.” In that, we are all artists, solving problems...story is art. Life is art. Sorry, got a little metaphysical there! 

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me what was my favorite musical I performed in? I'm so glad you asked! West Side Story. I was in it when I was 12, which is funny because it deals with some tough subjects. I didn't have a lead or anything, I was in the chorus, but we had fabulous choreography and got to take a stage fighting class. I used to spend all my allowance on vintage dresses and I went and bought an emerald green satin dress from the 50s. It had a wide circle skirt which went sky high when I twirled a belt with a rhinestone buckle and I felt like a million bucks on stage in it.

Look for The Bear Must Go On on February 11, 2020. 

Penguin's Description:

In this hilarious story of theatrical hijinks, plans go awry when four woodland friends stage a show—unless Bear can step up and save the day!

Bear and his woodland friends are putting on a show, and there are lots of plans to be made. Their curtains need sequins! Their hats must be very, very tall! And their tickets have to be shiny! (No one will come if the tickets are dull.)

Behind the scenes, shy Bear takes notes on every detail until his paws ache. But at least he won’t have to go on stage. He could NEVER do that!

…Or could he?

In this uproarious tale of theatrical mishaps told with hilariously endearing art, four woodland friends bring down the house—and have plenty of fun along the way.


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