Stumble trip, stumble trip! are you even a parent if you haven’t re-enacted these famous words from the classic children’s book “We’re going on a bear hunt” whilst walking in the woods? I can’t even begin to work out how many times I’ve encouraged Arlo’s tired little legs to finish a hike in the by convincing him there’s a bear around the next corner. I have so many` photographs of our adventures that I wanted to put together something really special for him as a keepsake.
Thanks to Google you can now capture a bear using augmented reality – which is basically a bit of clever tech which superimposes a realistic image of a bear in to the space in front of your camera. This is enough to convince Arlo and to my delight there are dozens of other animals this works with too…. I won’t spoil the fun…. just type bear in to Google and tap “meet a life sized brown bear up close”
Of course the logical thing to do with this is to convince your child that there are animals in your home and following you on walks and they have to be super quiet/go to bed on time / eat all of their dinner to maybe get a chance at glimpsing one of these creatures. That is a side note, but it is how I created the last pages of our story.
All through the first lockdown period of 2020 the only thing to do was spend time in outdoor spaces for our daily exercise. We managed to explore lots of local places and like most parents took way too many pictures, as winter faded away and spring turned in to summer we watched as the muddy fields turned in to green meadows and the trees blossomed and bloomed. I have something ridiculous like 40,000 picture on my phone and I rarely print them off.
We had so many pictures that it was easy to go through my camera roll and find some perfect matches for the pages within the original Bear Hunt book, beautifully illustrated book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. I then used some editing apps to give the photographs an illustrated feel and then add the text…. replicating each page exactly as it appears.
I told my mum the plan I had constructed and she used watercolours to paint the perfect cover for our book – capturing the essence of Helen Oxenburys illustrations and Arlo’s cheeky little personality in her own unique style. I was able to scan this in to my computer and add in the title page text later on to create the cover.
I edited all of the pages together and sent them off to a photo printing service who also create photo books – and in a few days our very own hardback copy of the book landed on the doorstep, and Arlo was absolutely delighted to see himself as the main character in the story.
The only thing we had to do differently was create an alternative for the snow storm and it seemed apt to send Arlo off through a rainbow instead of a snow storm – the perfect way to commemorate 2020 and the year of the lockdown for us. It was so much fun trying to capture the last few images and pop the Google bear in to the front garden.
I think Arlo truly believed that the bear payed us a visit and it was no trouble trying to convince him to get in to bed for a week or two. This book remains one of our most reached for stories and I hope it’s one which is treasured forever even though story ends with a promise to never go on a bear hunt again, we’re gluttons for punishment.
Here’s a video slide show of all of the pages in our book so that you can’t see exactly what it looks like from start to finish.