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Little Bear (TV series) facts for kids

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Little Bear
Little Bear title.png
Genre Preschool
Adventure
Fantasy
Comedy
Drama
Family
History
Created by Else Holmelund Minarik
Maurice Sendak
Jeff Goode
Starring Kristin Fairlie
Jennifer Martini
Amos Crawley
Tracy Ryan
Andrew Sabiston
Elizabeth Hanna
Janet-Laine Green
Dan Hennessey
Theme music composer Rowland Lee
Composer(s) Lesley Barber
Country of origin Canada
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 65 (195 segments) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Maurice Sendak
John B. Carls
Michael Hirsh
Patrick Loubert
Clive A. Smith
Producer(s) Michael Hirsh
Patrick Loubert
Clive A. Smith
Marianne Culbert
Stephen Hodgins
Patricia Burns
Running time 24 minutes
Production company(s) John B. Carls Productions Inc.
Wild Things Productions
Nelvana Limited
Hong Guang Animation
(1999-2003)
(season 5)
Distributor Nelvana Enterprises
Release
Original network Canada
CBC
Treehouse TV
United States
Nickelodeon
Picture format NTSC (480i)
Original release November 6, 1995 (1995-11-06) – November 7, 2003 (2003-11-07)

Little Bear is a Canadian educational historical 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 for the CBC. In the United States, the show debuted on Nickelodeon in 1995, and aired on CBS from 2000-2001.

A direct-to-video/DVD full-length feature film titled The Little Bear Movie was released in 2001.

Plot

Set in the United States wilderness around the end of the 19th century, Little Bear goes on exciting adventures and learns new things with his friends Emily, Duck, Hen, Cat, and Owl. Mother Bear is a homemaker who looks after Little Bear, while Father Bear, a fisherman, would typically be away on his ship, fishing.

Episodes

List of Little Bear episodes

Characters

Main

  • Little Bear (voiced by Kristin Fairlie) is a 6-year-old small, curious and imaginative 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 the 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 play and explore with his friends. His catchphrase is "Hmmmm... Interesting!"
  • Emily (voiced by Jennifer Martini) is a 7-year-old little girl who is Little Bear's best 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.
  • Owl (voiced by Amos Crawley) is a male 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.
  • Duck (voiced by Tracy Ryan) is a female 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.
  • Cat (voiced by Andrew Sabiston) is a laidback, slothful male 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. His catchphrase is "Boo!"
  • Hen (voiced by Elizabeth Hanna) is a fussy, feisty chicken 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.
  • 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.

Recurring

  • No Feet (voiced by Rick Jones) is a friendly, gentle and green male garter snake that lives in Mother Bear's garden. Little Bear gets along with him very well.
  • 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 Dan Lett) 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 Emily and Granny's dog. She acts very hyper and she can understand humans. According to Granny, she only speaks French, yet she understands English.
  • Mitzi (voiced by Ashley Taylor) is a 5-year-old 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.
  • Moose (voiced by Ray Landry) is a male Eastern moose, who sometimes helps Little Bear and his friends when they are in need.

Others

  • Otters – Four 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.
  • Marshmallow – Marshmallow is a baby white skunk who is found by Owl and Little Bear in an episode and plays with Duck, Little Bear, Owl, and Cat in the episode "Little Footprints". In the episode "The Wedding" she's the flower girl in Mr. and Mrs. Skunk's wedding.
  • Mighty – is a humpback 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.
  • Mr. Wind - A cloud that blows forth.

International broadcasts

It has been rebroadcast on many channels, including ABC and ABC2 (Australia), RTÉ (Ireland), TV2 (New Zealand) and Children's BBC (UK). In the United States, the show aired on Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Noggin, as well as on CBS during the Nick on CBS block from September 16, 2000, to September 8, 2001. Spacetoon aired the show

Home media

Streaming

All episodes, as well as the movie, are available to stream on YouTube. However, these are only available to view in Canada.

Nick Jr’s premium subscription service Noggin currently has streaming rights to the series in the United States, Noggin is available on Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Channels, and the multiplatform Noggin app.

The series was added to Paramount+ (at the time CBS All Access) in January 2021.

VHS

  • Meet Little Bear (1997)
  • Family Tales (1997)
  • Winter Tales (1997)
  • Parties & Picnics (1998)
  • Goodnight Little Bear (1998)
  • Friends (1999)
  • Summertime Tales (1999)
  • Little Goblin Bear (1999)
  • A Kiss for Little Bear (2000)
  • Little Bear's Band (2000)
  • Rainy Day Tales (2000)
  • Little Sherlock Bear (2001)
  • The Little Bear Movie (2001)
  • Let's Play a Game (2001)
  • Little Artist Bear (2002)
  • Campfire Tales (2002)
  • Snacktime Tales (2002)
  • Feel Better, Little Bear (2003)

DVD

Canada releases:

  • Outdoor Fun (2002)
  • Mysterious Moments (2002)
  • Hooray for Little Bear (2002)
  • At Home (2003)
  • Dreams and Make Believe (2006)
  • Mother and Father Bear (2006)
  • Exploring and Other Adventures (2006)
  • Seasons (2005) Slim case
  • New Friends (2005) Slim Case
  • Parties and Picnics (2005) Slim 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

United States releases:

  • The Little Bear Movie (August 7, 2001)
  • Feel Better, Little Bear (October 7, 2003)
  • Rainy Day Tales (June 7, 2005)
  • Little Bear's Band (June 7, 2005)
  • Halloween Stories (August 22, 2006)

Film

In 2001, the show was adapted into a direct-to-video film by Paramount Home Entertainment, Alliance Atlantis and Nelvana titled The Little Bear Movie.

Music

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 (used in the Canadian broadcast of the series). The theme was arranged for wind and strings by composer Arnold Black. A separate opening theme was used in the American broadcast of the series. The music score in the series is composed by Lesley Barber. There are also excerpts of works by composers Chopin, Bach and Mozart.

Other media

Live show

In Canada, Little Bear was adapted into a live theatrical show, "Little Bear: Winter Tales" which originally toured across Canada in 2007, and returned in late 2009.

Both tours were presented by Paquin Entertainment, and were produced by Koba Entertainment.

Video games

In 1999, The Learning Company developed two “edutainment” games based on the Little Bear franchise, "Maurice Sendak's Little Bear Rainy Day Activities". and "Maurice Sendak's Little Bear: Preschool Thinking Adventures" In 2000, the company developed another game, this time for a younger audience, entitled "Little Bear: Toddler Discovery Adventures"

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