Teddy bears are popping up in the unlikeliest of places as New Zealanders embrace an international movement in which people in lockdown are placing the stuffed animals in their windows to brighten the mood and give children the game of spotting bears in their neighborhoods.
The inspiration comes from the children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.
New Zealand last week began a four-week lockdown, but people are still allowed outside to exercise if they keep a safe distance from each other. In other words, bear-spotting is permitted.
Deb Hoffman, part-time school administrator and mother of two, started a Facebook page called “We’re Not Scared — NZ Bear Hunt” and also set up a Web site with an online map, on which more than 120,000 people have placed pins to show the location of their bears.
“We’re not scared” is a repeated line in the book, which features a family overcoming a number of obstacles in their search for a bear.
Hoffman said that she has been taken aback by the huge response, adding that some people are creating personalities for their bears by having them do a different activity each day.
One woman, who had been housebound for six weeks following surgery before the lockdown began, wrote that the teddy bears were the only thing getting her through the isolation, Hoffman said.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has even joined in, saying that people should keep an eye on her window because they might spot a bear.
In recent weeks, the 73-year-old author has wondered on Twitter whether symptoms including fatigue and fever meant that he had COVID-19 or a “heavy flu.”
Rosen’s family on Tuesday said that he was doing “poorly,” but improving, having previously spent a night in intensive care.
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