Bernadette’s Busy Morning

One of my favorite picture books from my childhood vanished years ago, and I’ve never been able to find it since. I’ve scoured every corner of the internet, from Amazon to Powells, only to find no mention of it. I’ve raided the kids’ section at every used bookstore or library sale in my path hoping to see its familiar cover. I’ve interrogated children’s librarians and booksellers – none of them have ever even heard of this amazing story.

Bernadette’s Busy Morning is about a delightful circus bear who wanders away from her trainer’s trailer one day and has a bunch of adventures in the city. I loved Bernadette and read her story over and over and over, poring over every detail of every picture. And I’ve never stopped hoping that one day she would turn up – perhaps on a dollar cart at The Strand, or tucked on a bottom shelf at HousingWorks Bookstore. I’ve even considered blogging about Bernadette before this, in hopes that maybe, just maybe, one of you might hold a clue that brings my search.

So you can imagine my utter shrieking elation a few weeks ago when I opened a birthday present from my brother. THERE WAS BERNADETTE.




There may have been some jumping up and down and screaming, maybe even a tear or two shed. I called him right away – “I can’t believe you found it!” She plays in the fountain! She marvels at the loud and constant traffic! She tries to make friends, but everyone just runs away screaming! (If this is a metaphor for NYC life, I don’t know what is.) Finally, tired and lonely, she’s reunited with her trainer and returned to her safe and happy home in the circus.

 My brother still won’t tell me how or where he tracked it down. I suspect a genie might have been involved.

Are there any long-lost books from your childhood that you wish you could find again?

Any success stories of tracking down a particularly rare book that you just had to have?

7 Responses to Bernadette’s Busy Morning

  1. D. C. DaCosta says:

    I kid you not, I put the odd things I want on a “saved search” and eventually they show up.

  2. Lynn says:

    I was going to say the same thing as D.C., I found BBM both on E-bay and Amazon.

  3. sharon says:

    You two are both pros! This is a great tip that I will use for any future treasure hunts. And glad to know that Bernadette is resurfacing online – maybe I should order a back-up copy! :)

  4. A Hotel Is a Place…by Shelley Berman is famous in my family as the most hilarious tome ever written. My brother and I still call each other George and Seovye because of it. We had a single copy growing up, but a few years ago I managed to find a few copies while perusing amazon, and you bet I snapped them up! If you ever happen to see this book, do yourself a favor and buy it, then run to the store for a package of Depends, because it’s likely you’ll laugh so hard you’ll leak.

  5. sharon says:

    Sounds hilarious, Elizabeth, I’ll keep an eye out for it! Family inside jokes are the best…

  6. Erin says:

    Oh, What a Busy Day! by Gyo Fujikawa is my Bernadette’s Busy Morning. When you mentioned poring over every detail in every picture, you were speaking my language! This book was an absolute treasure trove of fun for a child, and I still use a few of the illustrations as online profile pictures and the background on my computer desktop. I get the feeling you know what I’m talking about when I say I have a warm glow seeing these pictures. I was very fortunate to have a borderline hoarder mom who saved her daugthers’ favourite childhood possessions – I still have my original copy of this wonderful book, 34 years later! So happy for you that your brother found a copy of your book for you!!

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