Meet The Characters
A student at Teddy Bear School, Wobbly is a loveable and easy going Teddy Bear who finds it easy to laugh his own foibles. If you were to ask him, he’d be quick to point out that he’s almost six.
He’s full of energy and always ready for a good time. He loves to play well-meaning pranks that only occasionally cause a little trouble. And he’s often got a good joke ready to tell.
You might notice that he’s somewhat clumsy and even a bit on the floppy side. It might be that he was slightly understuffed or maybe he just hasn’t quite grown into his fur, but either way he appears a little “loose”, and as result he sometimes ‘wibble-wobbles.’
His wobbles certainly don’t diminish his love of dancing, even if he often finds himself on the floor. In fact, he can get pretty wild on the dance floor since he’s so limber. He never gets hurt when he falls (he is stuffed after all) and he has a sweet and quite distinctive way of laughing at himself when he does fall. His better coordinated friend Mimi sometimes comes to his rescue if she sees him spinning out of control or losing balance.
Like all Teddy Bears, Wobbly Bear has a huge, giving heart. He is also the little Teddy who could. When problems arise or something needs to get accomplished, Wobbly’s lion-heart spirit seems to turn things around. Even if it seems as if there’s no way to work things out, he just won’t quit. He keeps on trying and ultimately, through his understanding of teamwork and working together with others, he always succeeds – though not always in the way he expects! This single-minded determination is sometimes hidden by his decidedly goofy sense of humor and his broad, infectious smile.
Barley is the school’s teacher, but his feelings towards the other Teddies are parental. He wants to make sure that everyone understands that Teddy Bears are very special and that they learn to use all their Teddy Bear abilities to help children be happy. He knows that the learning process isn’t trouble-free so when they make mistakes or do something they shouldn’t (which they often do) Barley tries to make sure he is there for them... always. He’s the Teddy’s Teddy.
You might not notice that he’s older than the others because it doesn’t show in the obvious ways, since Teddy Bears don’t get grey or whiskered when they age. It’s just that you get a sense of age and wisdom from Barley even at first glance. At first you think maybe it’s his, um, bearing, or maybe there’s some kind of fuzzy patina that comes with age, but you know immediately that he’s a wise and kindly soul. In reality, of course, we know that those old hand-made Bears just have an innate sense of what it means to be a true friend. Bears like Barley were ‘Born to Care’.
He’s got a terrific sense of humor and tells wonderful stories. Some of these stories are from his experience, others are from history. Still others are made up on the spot, and these original stories have a lot of Teddy wisdom, too. He has a real knack for helping the Teddies do just a little bit better and using humor and song to understand a little more about values and life than they did before.
He is also a great lover of books, and seems infinitely knowledgeable about the behind the scenes ‘history’ of Teddy Bears going back to the Stone Age. Many of his stories are drawn from this exciting (make believe) history. Even though his tales are pure fantasy and he has everyone laughing, there is always lesson to learn from them. The students love to play along and often the musical numbers they perform are drawn from the moral of a tale.
Barley is best friends with his right hand Rackets the cat. Although they often to take turns misunderstanding what the other is trying to say, they always laugh about it in the end when they finally figure it out. Barley treats each of his students as if they were his own children and the student bears know that he is “with” them always.
Mookoo the Monkey
Mookoo lives in the kitschy cuckoo clock up on the wall. He is short in stature, but long in opinions! His cuckoo clock home is a jungle-style hut, and the clock is complete with bananas for weights. One never knows when he will come popping out of the clock with a “Mookoo! Mookoo!” and grabbing a banana before popping right back in.
The result of a partnership between a clock maker and a toy manufacturer, and given as a gift by a well-intentioned relative, he’s a one of a kind item, thank goodness. The only instructions on the box he came in were the words “Time to monkey around!” And those are about the only instructions he ever follows.
For someone who lives in a clock, MooKoo has an incredibly bad sense of timing. His appearances almost always disrupt Barley’s best laid plans. When the sounds “Mookoo! Mookoo!” begins, Barley holds his breath, hoping MooKoo will simply grab his banana and head back inside. But often, a look of exasperation passes the old Bear’s face, as MooKoo yells out “It’s time to Monkey Around!” and leaps down from his clock. One way or the other, his landing instantaneously creates a hilarious bedlam. Children love these MooKoo moments because they are often the beginning of a song involving the all the Bears.
An irrepressible jokester, he somehow imagines himself ‘the leader’ and attempts to take on that role frequently. Yet when it comes to actually figuring things out he is famous, or should we say infamous, for doing everything in pretty much the silliest possible way.
You never know what will happen when he calls for a game of “MooKoo Says!”, but usually everyone has a great time. Despite his wackiness and character flaws, the Teddies all know that Mookoo is just being himself, and they love him for it. Giggle is especially fascinated by MooKoo’s antics. Barley puts up with and even sometimes enjoys the monkey business. He just wishes MooKoo wasn’t so good at picking the wrong time!
Through it all, it is clear that Mookoo loves all the bears and in his own way is showing them how co-operation is always for best way to have the most fun.
Mimi is a lively and instantly likable 5-year old teddy bear. Her parents were both music box Teddies from another era. She sometimes talks about her musical sisters and brothers, Doe-doe, Rae-Ray, Fa-Fa and So-So. Not surprisingly, then, music is central to Mimi’s life and personality. She has an extraordinary sense of rhythm and often stands out as a ‘star’ percussionist when the Teddy Bears jam.
Her sense of rhythm also helps makes her a terrific dancer, acrobat and overall athlete. When she does the Duck Walk, even Mookoo concedes that she’s the Top Banana. Wobbly is a little jealous of her great dexterity, but she would never rub it in. In fact, she sometimes uses her graceful agility to camouflage his wibble-wobbles when they do routines together.
Mimi is very energetic, and a real enthusiast. She can get very excited about a wide range of ideas and activities. Sometimes she is so completely distracted that she loses her train of thought and doesn’t quite complete a project. Her occasional losses of focus cause funny complications, and this is definitely an area where she can use some improvement. Wobbly is often a very big help in getting her back on track and keeping her there.
She and Wobbly are close friends and a natural team. They complement each other’s skills, and love to work together. When the two of them get started on something you know that they will succeed. No one will soon forget the time they led the Teddy Bear Parade with their newly created dual-mouth-pieced TwoBa! She and Wobbly encourage each other to grow, to know more, and to become better Bears.
In some ways Mimi is a role model for Giggle. There’s is a big sister/little sister relationship and we often see Mimi being tender -- slightly protective, and very loving.
No matter what happens Mimi knows that when they stick together things will always work out in the end.
At “two years - and a qwarter!” old, Giggle may be the smallest Teddy Bear in Teddy Bear School, but she’s definitely the pwoudest of her age. Named for her penchant to giggle all the time, she finds something funny in almost everything.
Like most toddlers, she observes and understands pretty much everything going on around her. But she’s young, has a slightly smaller vocabulary than the others, and even weaves her own personalized cubby talk into many sentences. Learning by trial and error, she comically misuses words and phrases she hears others say in an episode, but gets them straight eventually. When she does, she proudly accepts praises from the others. Often, she’ll get a wink and a paw-thumb up from Barley or one of the older teddies, leading to a very big smile and a peal of infectious giggling.
An active toddler who has just recently learned to walk, she often finds herself suddenly on the floor –“Cub Boom!” - And is often happy to just sit upright and check things out. When the other bears are up jamming’ on the dance floor or playing an active game, however, she’s naturally able to get up and move with the best of them, though perhaps with a few more ‘Cub-booms’. She walks and dances with that recognizable diaper-induced foot-pounding robo-waddle that most toddlers (and Bears) seem to share, even though she doesn’t wear diapers.
She loves to hear Barley’s stories and especially enjoys the magic chalk board. Her main goal on any given day is to learn ‘cool stuff’. She is definitely at the ‘Why?” stage and occasionally will just keep asking “Why?” until everyone is laughing. Other times this question combines with her naïve view of the world to open the others’ eyes to a more Teddy way of seeing things.
Like most ‘little sisters’, Giggle looks up to Mimi and often imitates her in fun ways. We see her learning a great deal from observing the older girl, and often notice her trying –sometimes successfully/sometimes not – to act and talk just like her. This sometimes turns into a lesson for Mimi, when certain unbecoming behaviors are imitated.
When Giggle wakes up in the morning or from a nap, she immediately checks to see if she’s a big Bear yet. She really wants to be one, right NOW.
She adores Wobbly and never tires of playing with him. The only thing better than a shoulder ride on Wobbly-horse is a round trip on the Trans-Attic Express -- the oversized old toy train that circles the attic – with Wobbly as the engineer. She looks up to Barley with a mixture of awe and wonder: “Barley knows lots!” She loves to sit on his knee and listen to his stories and songs.
Giggle will stare at Mookoo’s clock when she knows he’s about to appear. Nobody is happier than she is when it’s time for monkey business. Mookoo knows that he can easily get her giggling out of control with his antics. They share a bond in not quite being able to control their impulses. The difference is that Giggle tries to be good but doesn’t always succeed, while the completely uninhibited MooKoo just wants to have fun.
As with many little ones she can be afraid of silly things. When this happens the other bears always come to assure her and calm her. By the same token, she is hyper-aware of others feelings. She is quick to give warm-fuzzies to anyone who is sad and will always try to do something to make them feel better.
Rackets the cat is Barley’s oldest friend and confidante. It was Rackets and Barley who put together Teddy Bear School in the first place, and she is very involved in the daily operations. She has lived in the ‘real’ world for a long time and has “learned” much about the ways of people both young and old.
She feels that she knows how and even more importantly, when to get the Teddy Bears to and from school. Additionally, because of her ability to travel freely throughout the house, she often gathers various things that the others need. If a child is visiting with the family downstairs, she might just bring their Bear up to the Attic for a visit to the school.
She is all ‘cat’ but not as young as she once was, so few things are more important to her than naps; especially naps in that sunny spot up on top of Barley’s bookcase under the skylight. If you let her, she will talk at great length about the benefit of napping. Nothing is cuter than catching her snoozing in the sun with Giggle cuddled up against her, also napping.
Rackets like many cats, can seem aloof and stand offish. She has a certain spot in the attic that she quickly retreats to anytime she thinks things might get out of hand. From there, she occasionally comments on the action, having no shortage of opinions of her own and not holding back on advising everyone.
Although Rackets is aloof, she can get preoccupied about how and when things should be done and how and when they shouldn’t and has no problem sharing this with the others.
The Little Ladybugs
These little characters hang out together and perform as a comical trio at various points.
The ladybugs are fully and humorously anthropomorphized, and are not gender specific. They walk upright wearing their shells like backpacks. They love to run, jump, and leap great distances. They ride bikes, drive cars and sail boats.
Their faces are round and their eyes are set wide apart. They have small noses and wide expressive mouths. Their feet are short and chunky like little kids feet and are shod in funky jogger style boots.
Each has a ‘shell pack’ that’s the most versatile thing you’ve ever seen. It makes a great parachute (these ladybugs can’t quite fly) or canoe, umbrella, or bathtub. Flip one over and pop on the wheels and you’ve got a cute little hybrid vehicle that’s mini-er than your average Cooper.
Their home base is an empty aquarium that’s kept in the attic. It’s fully equipped with a wide range of fantasy themed decorations, and when bored, the ladybugs love to redecorate.
The ladybugs love music and we will often see them joining in during a Bear musical number. They play beautifuul music as a band; one strumming an air guitar, one using antennae to play a xylophone and legs to play a keyboard, and the third drumming on an overturned shell. When inspired, they pick up any random object at hand and comically work it into the sound mix.
If they’re not making the music, they are probably dancing to it. Our ladybugs love a conga line, limbo line, or chorus line, but what they really live for is boot-scooting to a wacky cowboy song. They’re not afraid of looking silly, and never get tired of having fun.