Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bear in Space (1970)

Bear in Space has an unusual premise for a children's book. It is the fictional story of a bear who shares film of his vacation to the Moon with his animal friends, but that is not the unusual part.

Bear in Space. Russia 48 p. 1970

 Going to the Moon
 Scenery on the way
 Checking out the secret Russian moonbase.
 Fooling around on the way home. If this photograph doesn't convince you that a bear can go to space I don't know what will. And the return to Earth (who needs those complicated re-entry plans)

The twist is (like we all know) he never really went to the Moon but faked it with camera special effects!

The idea of how film or photographs can be faked seems unique to me as the topic of a children's book. Most of the illustrations in the book are devoted to how he created the realistic looking photographs. Science fiction special effects for kids.

 In some ways this book is really about how we can be fooled by accepting what we see.

 This illustration in particular was a special effect that I only learned about when I read about the filming of 2001. This is pretty good technology for a Russian bear, no wonder they beat us to space.

The book ends with the animals fooling around with the filming equipment and making their own photographs.

If a headless space mouse doesn't make your day, like it does for me, then you have lost your sense of wonder. Keep dreaming of space.


  1. Ordinarily I'd be all for a children's book that teaches skeptical thinking and questioning remarkable claims, but...was the intended subliminal message here for Russian children "Don't be too quick to trust American claims of landing on the Moon, all sorts of things can be faked for propaganda purposes"?

  2. Actually this is an old children's book from 1973 about film industry.

    The story starts with fictional bear showing his forest friends the film about his "space adventure". Then the animals go to cinema studio and get an detailed explanation how this space flight story was actually made. Here are more pictures:

    1. I double-checked the copyright statement. It was originally printed in 1970. Maybe 1973 is the paperback reprint.

  3. Kak Medved v Kosmos Letal by Boris Mikhailov. according to