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GOOSE THE BEAR


Protected by the soft cover of a knitted forest, the puppet show Goose the Bear speaks to its young audience about diversity and yet similarity, about love and acceptance. We can use it talk to children about important topics that greatly affect our lives together: is everything that seems different really so different from us? In what way do we differ from each other and in what way are we similar? And how can we coexist?

ABOUT THE PICTURE BOOK


The puppet show Goose the Bear was created as a dramatisation of the picture book by German artist Katja Gehrmann. She has won several awards for her texts and illustrations, including a Golden Apple at the 2011 Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava.

Goose the Bear is a seemingly simple mix-up about a gosling that is convinced that it is a bear right from the outset since the very first thing it sees is a bear’s face. In her imaginative style filled with quips and colourful, at times unconventional illustrations, the author narrates an astonishing story about the gosling that became a bear.

ABOUT THE PUPPETS


At the invitation of director Ivana Djilas, the puppets in the show were made by world-renowned British designer Donna Wilson.

  • What did the puppets in the show look like? How would you describe them? 
  • Did the puppets remind you of something?
  • What material were the puppets made of?
  • How did the operators move the puppets? 

A native of Scotland, Donna Wilson now lives and works in London. Since her graduate show work at the Royal College of Art, where she presented her unusual creatures for the first time, she has become increasingly recognisable and stood out from other contemporary designers. Her animals were eventually joined by pillows, warm woollen blankets and other ingenious home accessories. The winner of the prestigious 2010 Elle Decoration British Designer of the Year award displays her works at exhibitions and collaborates with famous design companies.


Click on this link to see what Donna Wilson’s studio looks like and how her creatures are created.


Donna’s knitted creatures have their own characters and names. The bear cast in the show, for instance, is called Big Ted, and he loves cheese and pickle sandwiches.

  • Think of the other toys in the show. Give them names and assign their favourite food to them.

Donna adapted her toys to the puppet show Goose the Bear so they could become puppets:

“Following the instructions of puppetry experts and the director, I complemented them in a way that allowed them to achieve more effects and stage action. Then, the Puppet Theatre added operating slots and inserted holders made of different materials to move the muzzle, for example, or the bear’s head, the fox’s tail, etc.”

Click on this link to read the entire interview with Donna Wilson.

EXPERIENCING THE SHOW

  • Did you like the show? Why?
  • Was there something you did not like in the show? Why not?
  • What intrigued you the most?
  • What was funny?
  • What were the puppet operators wearing?
  • What is the music in the show like?
  • Where is the story set? How would you describe the space? Who appears in the show?
  • What happens in the show?
  • Was there a moment that particularly impressed you?
  • Draw the scene from the show that was the most memorable for you. Looking at the picture, narrate the story.
WHO IS MAMA?

The first creature that Goose sees when it peeks from its egg is Bear. That is why it believes that Bear is its mum.

  • But what does Bear think?
  • Do bears hatch from eggs like Goose did? Whose is the egg from which Goose hatched, then?
  • Bear insists that he is not Goose’s mum since they look nothing alike. What does Bear look like and what does Goose look like?
  • How does Goose get its name?
  • What can Bear do? But can’t Goose do all those things too?
  • Can Bear be its mum even though they look so different?
  • Why does Goose call Bear “Mama” and not “Dada”?
  • Why does not Goose think that Fox is its mum?

What does it mean to be a mum? How do mums take care of their children? Prompt the children to talk about how their mums take care of them. How do they know that their mum loves them? Does she hug them? Does she kiss them? Does she hold them when they are scared? Does she protect them against danger? Do they do fun things together?

Does Bear do all those things in the show too? Bear, too, protects Goose against Fox, who wants to eat it. He holds it close, he catches a fish for it when it is hungry. They swim together, they sleep together.

  • In the show, does Goose nonetheless find a mum that takes care of it even though it is not the goose that laid its egg?
DIFFERENT FAMILIES


“Some bears are really weird,” says Fox at the end of the show when he is observing Goose and Bear from the other side of the river.

  • Why does he say that? What is his mood when he is observing Bear and Goose laughing together? Is he angry because he did not manage to eat Goose for lunch?

There are many different families. Some consist of many members, others have just a few; family members sometimes look alike, other times they look completely different. Some children are adopted. Because their family was not able to take care of them, they got a new family, a new mum who takes care of them and loves them.

  • Is that the case for Bear and Goose too? 

  • Talk about different families.


EVERYONE IS FAMILY


Everyone Is Family!
(German: Alles Familie!) is a picture book by German author Alexandra Maxeiner, which won the 2011 German award for best didactic picture book. The story, illustrated by Anke Kuhl, wittily explores various types of family communities, from the most ordinary to those that could not have children, and the rainbow ones where children have two mums or two dads. And what is more, the picture book even touches upon Stone Age families and those formed by animals!

The author portrays different types of families in an objective way, the relationships among them and the acceptance of diversity, providing food for thought about different living environments.

The picture book was translated into Slovenian by Neža Božič for Mladinska knjiga in 2012.

LET US KNIT A FAMILY STORY


Sit in a circle and hold a ball of wool. The one holding the ball of wool says one sentence about their family. When they say it, they pass or throw the ball over to the next child. Try to create a large woollen tangle and talk about families. At the end, you can try to unravel the tangle and roll it back into the ball.

  • Who are the members of your family?
  • Do the members of your family look alike? What do you love doing together?
  • How do you show each other that you love each other?
  • What do you call your mum and your dad?
  • Do you have pet names for each other?

Draw a picture of your family. You can also include your pets. Present the picture to the group.

ABOUT DIVERSITY


“You are not a bear, you are different,” says Bear to Goose, when it keeps saying that Bear is its mum. 

  • In what way do Bear and Goose differ?
  • What if Goose had the ears of a bear? Or if Bear had the beak of a goose? Would he be half bear, half goose then?
  • Do you remember how the show ends?
  • How do Bear and Goose have fun together?
A WOOLLEN FAIRY-TALE FOREST


 Scenographer Ajda Vogelnik devised a fairy-tale forest using the trees and clouds knitted by British designer Donna Wilson. As spectators, we land in that forest as soon as we enter the hall.

  • Do you remember what the scenography was composed of? Where were the trees placed?
  • What colour were the trees? What were they made of?
  • Where did the scenographer find inspiration for setting up the forest? Where do artists search for inspiration for their work?

The trees in the show have different knitting patterns. Some have straight, some have wavy and others have zigzag lines. Lines make up different patterns, which are similar to those on knitwear. Let’s take a look at different knitted garments (for example, a multicoloured scarf or a jumper) and the patterns that are created with different lines.

  • A special effect in the show is created by the clouds that glide above the audience’s heads. Do you remember what they looked like? What did the drops look like? How did the actors portray the rain?


ACTIVITIES


A world of diversity

Observe different animals. Which animals have ears, a tail, paws, a beak? How do different animals move?

People also differ from each other in gender, skin colour, hair colour, eye colour, etc. Regardless of how different we look, we may like the same things.

Try and observe. The children sit on the floor and stand up if the statement made by the teacher applies to them. For instance: Let those children stand up who like splashing through puddles ... who like soup ... who like the colour green ... Prompt the children to make statements as well. Finally, talk about what you have found out.


Woollen compositions

You need:

  • pieces of wool of different colours and lengths, 
  • glue,
  • transparency slides.

Go for a walk and observe the treetops. What do they look like? Stand under the branches and look up at the treetops. Observe. How do the branches and leaves intertwine? How does light filter through the (young) leaves?

Coat the slide with glue. Prompt the children to stick pieces of wool on the slide and make their own woollen composition. When it is finished, it can be affixed to a window to let the light filter through it.



The sound of the forest

Do you remember the music in the show? Composer Blaž Celarec used different musical instruments for the animals in the show, employing sounds to illustrate their movements.

Make different rattles, which will imitate the sounds found in nature and the movements of animals: fill yoghurt pots or plastic bottles with different ingredients (rice, hazelnuts, spruce twigs, etc.). Listen to the sound of the rattles. Discover what sound it makes if we turn around the rattle slowly, if we shake it gently or vigorously. Try out different rhythms. Which rattle is the best at imitating the squirrel’s hop, the goose’s running, the snail’s slither, or the bear’s pace?

PICTURE BOOKS ABOUT DIVERSITY AND COEXISTENCE


Everyone Here, Everyone Together! (German: Alle da!) is a picture book by author Anja Tuckermann and illustrator Tine Schulz about our rich and truly busy lives together. The picture book is suitable for different activities to raise awareness among children about diverse coexistence. Translated into Slovenian by Tina Mahkota for the publishing house Zala in 2016, the book holds the Golden Pear quality label.

Little Blue and Little Yellow is a cult picture book created by designer and artist Leo Lionni in 1959. Through art and linguistic minimalism, this distinctly ambiguous picture book deals with the meaning of true friendship. The Slovenian translation by Mojca Redjko was published by the publishing house Miš in 2015.

Through the simple situations in which the protagonist, Something Else, finds himself, the picture book Something Else by author Kathryn Cave shows that people differ from each other and that anyone of us can sometimes take the place of Something Else or Something. The picture book was awarded the UNESCO prize for Children’s and Young People’s Literature in the Service of Tolerance. The Slovenian translation by Kristijan Musek Lešnik for the publishing house Educy has received the Golden Pear quality label.


The teaching materials have been prepared by Špela Frlic and Tjaša Tomšič.