Little Bear Bongo

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"Little Bear Bongo"
Author Sinclair Lewis
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Children's literature
Published in Cosmopolitan
Publication type Periodical
Publication date September 1930

"Little Bear Bongo" is a children's story written by Sinclair Lewis. The story was first published in the September 1930 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, with illustrations by José Segrelles.[1]


The story following a circus bear who wishes to live free in the wild. Bongo is raised in captivity and greatly praised for his performances, but poorly treated off stage. As such, while travelling by train his natural instincts urge him to break free. Once he does and enters a forest, it takes about a day before his idealistic assessment of his new living situation is shattered and he is faced with some hard conditions. The next morning however he meets a female bear, Lulubelle. The two of them fall in love, but he is immediately faced with a romantic rival in the brutish, enormously-shaped Lumpjaw. Bongo fails to interpret Lulubelle slapping him as a sign of affection and when she accidentally slaps Lumpjaw, he claims her for himself, forcing all other bears into a celebration for the "happy" new couple. Bongo comes to understand the meaning of slapping one another among wild bears and returns to challenge Lumpjaw. He manages to outwit Lumpjaw for most of their fight until the two fall into a river and go over a waterfall. While Lumpjaw is swept away, Bongo's hat saves him from falling down and he can finally claim Lulubelle as his mate.


The story was acquired by Walt Disney Pictures in 1940 for a possible feature film. World War II sidetracked those plans until 1947. Disney used the story as part of its feature Fun and Fancy Free and is read by Dinah Shore.


  1. ^ "Contents list". Hearst’s International combined with Cosmopolitan, September 1930. The FictionMags Index. Retrieved 2013-12-29. 

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