“The Bear That Wasn’t” by Frank Tashlin

Recommended to me by: A client.

This children’s book was written in 1946 about a bear who emerges from peaceful hibernation to find that a factory has been built around his cave. The factory managers tell him to get to work. When he protests that he is a bear, one manager after another tells him he is a silly man who needs a shave and wears a fur coat. Eventually they wear him down and he comes to believe them.

This is a classic example of gaslighting – making someone doubt their own reality.

The book is beautifully illustrated with Tashlin’s line drawings. The only downside to the book is blatant sexism in the illustrations. For example, each (male) factory manager has a series of shapely female secretaries. Aside from that, I wholeheartedly recommend the book, which supports the idea of listening to your own truth and not letting yourself be outvoted by other people’s opinions.

Available at Powell’s Books.

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