18 January 2011

A careless bear

Children’s books and Walt Disney World have a curious history. Perhaps the most curious part of their relationship is the fact that publications, from in park souvenirs to Little Golden Books, were produced time and again in the early years of the park and then the line of books seemed to abruptly stop.The Country Bear Jamboree, an opening day attraction at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom that soon spread to other parks, had a book all its own, Big Albert Moves In. In this children’s book from 1971, Big Albert is a bear that likes to eat and play his guitar, but is slow to worry about winter. When winter arrives and Big Al isn’t welcomed in their homes, his misadventures begin. Finally, and this shouldn’t spoil the book or attraction for anyone, Big Al comes to the Magic Kingdom, finds Grizzly Hall, and is invited to stay as one of the performing bears.The book is fun to read, especially if you have a fondness for the Country Bears or Big Al in particular. I do wish Big Albert Moves In had more of a lesson to it, as Big Albert does not prepare but eventually finds a life better than the one he had, which doesn’t grant children any insight into a moral compass. As a reminder of a favorite attraction, or preview of what children had to look forward to on a trip to Walt Disney World, however, this book suits me just fine.

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