Little Bear (TV series)
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|Created by||Else Holmelund Minarik
|Theme music composer||Franz Schubert|
|Opening theme||"Allegro vivace"|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||65 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Maurice Sendak
John B. Carls
Clive A. Smith
|Running time||24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Wild Things Productions
|Original network||CBC (Canada)
Nick Jr. (USA)
|Original release||November 6, 1995– November 7, 2003|
Little Bear is an educational Canadian children's animated series based on the Little Bear series of books written by Else Holmelund Minarik, and illustrated by Maurice Sendak; the program was originally produced by CBC. It has been rebroadcast on many channels, including Noggin/Nick Jr. (US), ABC and ABC2 (Australia; 16 October 1997 – 15 April 2010) and Children's BBC (UK). A direct-to-video/DVD full-length feature film titled The Little Bear Movie was released in 2001.
Little Bear (voiced by Kristin Fairlie) is a 6-year-old small, curious grizzly bear cub who lives in the forest with his family and friends. Throughout the series, he has grown somewhat, as his voice is slightly deeper, and he rarely takes naps. He is the only character whose parents are shown other than exception of Duck's mother in one show who is a chicken. Little Bear lives in a stucco, wood, plaster, and brick house. He is always kind and loves to explore.
Duck (voiced by Tracy Ryan) is a female domestic duck with yellow feathers, an orange beak and a long neck. Slow and smart at the same time, Duck is one who gets herself into comical situations. She lives in a nest, although in one episode, she expressed longing for a house and tried to live in a house boat. It floated downriver filled with frogs and Duck lived happily in her nest. She loves playing "princess" and pretend. She was hatched in a nest of chicks, because "some eggs got mixed up", and Little Bear taught her to fly when she was a duckling. She never has any ducklings of her own, but she is sometimes seen babysitting a group of them. Her voice sounds Scratchy.
Owl (voiced by Amos Crawley) is a male short-eared owl who is sometimes pompous, yet he is very wise. He lives in a treehouse, and can be quite serious at times. Although Owl enjoys fun games, he will only participate if the gameplay is sensible. It is also shown that reading is his hobby.
Cat (voiced by Andrew Sabiston) is a laidback, slothful male tuxedo cat who enjoys prowling at night, playing tricks on passersby, and eating. When he and his friends must get to a certain place in the woods, Cat often leads them through one of his shortcuts.
Hen (voiced by Elizabeth Hanna) is a fussy, feisty hen who lives in a large chicken coop. She is classy, sophisticated and enjoys cleanliness, though her several nieces and nephews often mess up her spotless house. However, she never turns down the opportunity for fun. Hen has also been shown to be fond of opera, but it seems that she is not good at singing it.
Emily (voiced by Jennifer Martini) is Little Bear's 7-year-old human friend. In the summer, Emily vacations with her parents by the river near Little Bear's home. Emily carries around a doll named Lucy everywhere she goes and is very attached to her. Emily gave Little Bear Lucy when she was leaving to go back to school but then took her back, saying that she just remembered that "Lucy has to go to school", too. Emily eventually moves to the forest permanently and lives there with her grandmother.
Mother Bear (voiced by Janet-Laine Green) is Little Bear's mother. She enjoys cooking and is always there to help Little Bear if he needs it. She also seems to be very tidy and does not like it when the house becomes messy. She normally wears a pink shirt and a blue skirt with a white apron.
Father Bear (voiced by Dan Hennessey) is Little Bear's father and Mother Bear's husband. His occupation is a fisherman and sometimes takes Little Bear out fishing. He has been to many places and likes to keep things that are old, even if they have to be thrown away. He usually wears a blue suit with a purple tie and brown shoes. Throughout the run of the show he is sporadically absent in appearance, as he is "away, fishing".
Grandmother Bear (voiced by Diane D'Aquila) is Little Bear's grandmother and Mother Bear's mother, and Grandfather Bear's wife. She likes to cook and tell stories.
Grandfather Bear (voiced by Sean McCann) is Little Bear's grandfather and Mother Bear's father. He once worked at a circus with his wife and sister. He wears a green suit but with khakis and a dark-red tie with brown shoes.
Rusty Bear (voiced by George Buza) is Father Bear's younger brother and Little Bear's uncle. He mentions that he lives in the woods, and that he would prefer to live there because it is quiet and peaceful. He is a very large bear, slightly taller and huskier than Father Bear. He has a deep voice, wears overalls, and has a red handkerchief around his neck. He is only seen in a few of the Little Bear episodes. Little Bear is fascinated with Rusty's outdoor ethic, and whenever he shows up, Little Bear is tempted to emulate his rustic character.
Granny (voiced by Kay Hawtrey) Emily's grandmother, who she lives with in the summer and then permanently, has traveled the world and has many odd pieces of furniture. She is the owner of Tutu.
Tutu (voiced by Tara Strong) is Granny's dog. She acts very hyper and she can understand humans. According to Granny, she only speaks French, yet she understands English.
Lucy – Lucy is a female doll who belongs to Emily. She has short blond hair and wears a red dress and bonnet with brown shoes. In one episode, Lucy fell from a tree and her porcelain arm was broken. Little Bear fixed it with tape. Another time, Duck sat on Lucy mistakenly and they had a funeral, where she was proved to be "alive" in the end. Emily is the only one who can "understand" and "talk" to Lucy.
Mitzi (voiced by Ashley Taylor) is a mischievous, sometimes rather unthoughtful tomboyish monkey who lives in a tree house in the forest around Little Bear's home. She feels bad after slighting somebody's feelings or misleading them. She sometimes has green or white eyes. Mitzi is the last to join the supporting cast, not appearing until the end of season two.
Otters – Four silly Northern river otter siblings that sporadically appear, reside in the local river. They are frequent in episodes focusing on water activities.
Mermaid – Mermaid is a mermaid who Little Bear occasionally meets when he goes to the lake, she is friendly and takes Little Bear to see places underwater.
Frog – Frog is a male frog that dispenses zen-like wisdom between his meditations. He resides at Little Bear's favorite swimming spot, 'Hop-Frog pond'. He is also very wise, and good friend to Little Bear.
Little Ick – Little Ick is a baby raccoon who only appears in an episode where his mother went to visit his grandmother and dropped him off with Mother Bear. Little Bear and Little Ick form a bit of a sibling relationship together like Little Bear feeling left out because Mother Bear seems to be paying more attention to Little Ick. Little Ick is the baby raccoon's nickname from Little Bear because "Ick" is the only thing the baby can say.
Mighty– is a whale who is an old friend of Father Bear. He appears in the episode "A Whale of a Tale" where Father Bear takes Little Bear fishing. He tells Little Bear the story of how he met Mighty when he accidentally caught him in his fishing net. A storm appears and Mighty and his son, Little Whale, help pull Father Bear and Little Bear back to shore. Although he only appeared in one episode, Mighty appeared in the opening credits of the show.
In 2001, the show was adapted into a direct-to-video film by Paramount Pictures and Nelvana titled The Little Bear Movie. In the movie, Little Bear and Father Bear go camping in the wilderness, where Little Bear encounters all kinds of new sights and sounds: an eagle's flight, a wolf's howl...and a wild little bear named Cub and his friend Little Moose fishing in a stream. Even though they are from different worlds, Little Bear and Cub become fast friends. When Little Bear learns that Cub is separated from his parents, he organizes a search party to find them. Joined by Duck, Cat, Owl and Hen, along with some new friends named the fox twins, Poppy and Pete, Little Bear and Cub begin an unforgettable journey.
Austrian composer Franz Schubert's Allegro vivace from his Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Major is used as the theme tune to Little Bear. The theme was arranged for wind and strings by composer Arnold Black. A separate theme tune is used in the US.
In the US, all episodes are currently available for purchase on Amazon Instant Video and the Noggin app.
- Outdoor Fun (2002)
- Mysterious Moments (2002)
- Hooray for Little Bear (2002)
- At Home (2003)
- Feel Better, Little Bear (2003) Nick Jr. case
- Rainy Day Tales (2005) Nick Jr. case
- Little Bear's Band (2005) Nick Jr. case
- Halloween Stories (2006) Nick Jr. case
- Dreams and Make Believe (2006)
- Mother and Father Bear (2006)
- Exploring and Other Adventures (2006)
- Seasons (2005) Slime case
- New Friends (2005) Slim Case
- Parties and Picnics (2005) Slime case
- Grandmother's House (2005) Slim case
- Tales for Rainy Days (2009) Slim case
- Meet Mitzi (2009) Slim case
2012 release by Treehouse
- Seaside Adventures
- Summer Sandcastles
- Search for Spring
- Dress Up Time
- Mother Bear's Special Day
- Follow the Leader
- Winter Games
- Father's Day
Canadian live and New York musical theatrical version
In Canada, Little Bear has been turned into a live theatrical show, "Little Bear: Winter Tales" which originally toured across Canada in 2007. The show toured Canada again in late 2009.
Both tours are presented by Paquin Entertainment, and were produced by Koba Entertainment.
In 1999 The Learning Company developed two edutainment games based on the Little Bear franchise titled "Maurice Sendak's Little Bear Rainy Day" for ages 3 up  and "Maurice Sendak's Little Bear: Preschool Thinking Adventures"  In 2000, the same company developed another edutainment title "Little Bear: Toddler Discovery Adventures" for ages 18 months to 3 years.
- "now touring | little bear | live on stage | family theatrical". Koba entertainment. Retrieved 2011-12-18.
- "109.10817: Maurice Sendak's Little Bear Rainy Day Activities - video game - Educational Software - Video Games - Online Collections - The Strong". museumofplay.org.
- "109.9435: Maurice Sendak's Little Bear: Preschool Thinking Adventures - video game - Educational Software - Video Games - Online Collections - The Strong". museumofplay.org.
- "109.9433: Maurice Sendak's Little Bear: Toddler Discovery Adventures, Ages 18 months to 3 years - video game - Educational Software - Video Games - Online Collections - The Strong". museumofplay.org.