There has been a dark cloud hanging over our household for the past fortnight – Beanie-boy’s beloved Little Teddy went Absent Without Leave. We searched everywhere for him – behind cupboards, under beds, in the car – we even got the staff at Beanie’s pre-school to search their cupboards too. All to no avail. My son himself was not too worried by Teddy’s absence, he’s quite a practical, logical sort of child so after having searched his bedroom he simply said: “Don’t worry Mummy, it’s snowing outside, he’ll be hibernating.” But I began to fear that Little Teddy was perhaps hibernating at the park, or the supermarket, or somewhere else where we would be unlikely to find him before the spring.
As my faith in finding Little Teddy began to dwindle I started to contemplate the possibility of buying a substitute. The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that Little Teddy is in fact a small Winnie-the-Pooh bear, easily obtainable in England in most toy stores and certainly to be found in a Disney store. However, finding a substitute in Moscow is not so easy because Russian children grow up with a whole different set of much-loved cartoon characters. We’ve come to know a few of them over the past year, so I thought I’d share with you some YouTube clips of three of the most popular.
Masha and the Bear
We have all fallen under the spell of the mischievous little girl Masha and her long-suffering friend, Bear. This has to be the funniest cartoon since Tom and Jerry, and because it uses a lot of visual slapstick humour, you don’t actually need to be able to understand Russian to enjoy the cartoon. We love this so much that we bought the DVD, and we may well buy Grandma a copy for Christmas.
Luntik is much loved here – especially by little girls who I see clutching him under their arms at the playground. As far as I can make out (my Russian is still not sufficient to sucessfully follow a pre-school programme!) he is a cuddly purple little creature from the moon (the Russian word for moon is Luna) who has come to earth and made his home among the insects at the bottom of the garden.
We frequently see people dressed up as Cheburashka when we walk down the Old Arbat, but as I couldn’t find him on TV I just assumed that we didn’t have the right television package. However, I’ve since discovered that he is actually a character from a very old Soviet series. Cheburashka is still greatly loved in Russia, you can find the toys in shops and he was also the mascot for the 2004 Russian Olympic team.
I hope you enjoy watching the clips. Beanie-boy thinks Masha and the Bear is the most hilarious thing he has ever seen, and he will quite happily enjoy watching an episode of Luntik, but nothing can replace a Little Teddy that you’ve had for as long as you can remember. Thankfully, it turned out my son was absolutely right – Little Teddy was indeed hibernating. We found him in an old laptop bag at the bottom of my wardrobe!