"My mind sees that I am nothing, my heart sees that I am everything, between these two poles my life unfolds."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Greetings! I hope your weekend has been a good one so far. The other day I posted about this odd statuette I'd purchased after having been strangely drawn to it and was hoping to find out more about.

Well, I didn't have to wait long and I am beyond thrilled that Tatiana from My Cold Prairie so quickly solved this mystery for me:

"That is Crocodile Gena and Cheburashka - a mythical creature that looks kind of like a monkey crossed with bear cub. 

They are characters from a children's book in Russia and have entered very deeply into the popular culture, with cartoons books, etc. "

Tatiana also provided a link which I followed and a whole new world opened up to me :) Based on the amount of information I've since found on the net regarding these two creatures, I have obviously been hiding under a rock for most of my life.

According to the story, Cheburashka is a funny little creature, unknown to science, who lives in the tropical forest. He accidentally gets into a crate of oranges, eats his fill, and falls asleep. The crate is eventually delivered to a grocery store in an unnamed town where the rest of the main story unfolds. Cheburashka is a name given to the character by the puzzled store manager who finds the creature in the crate when he opens it. The salesman takes the animal out and sits him on the table, but his paws are numb after the long time spent in the crate, and he tumbles down ("cheburakhnulsya" (чебурахнулся), a Russian colloquialism, "tumbled" in English) from the table onto the chair and then from the chair, where he could not sit, for the same reason, onto the floor. The store manager, who witnesses the scene, called him Cheburashka, (Wikipedia)

Crocodile Gena (Russian: Крокодил Гена, Krokodil Gena) is a fictional, friendly crocodile in the series of Cheburashka books by Russian writer Eduard Uspensky. His first appearance in the animation film was in the film Gena the Crocodile (1969) by Roman Kachanov (Soyuzmultfilm studio).

The 50-year-old Gena works in a zoo as a crocodile. In his spare time, he plays the garmon and likes to sing.

Gena is best friends with Cheburashka, the title character in the series. (Wikipedia)

There are cartoons, books, coloring books etc. featuring these characters.

Still from Russian animated film
I am not at all surprised that the Japanese culture has embraced them

Now that I know the story behind these two characters (there goes my best-selling children's book based on them...drat!) I am holding them even closer to my heart, like the funny, sweet, innocent characters from my own childhood; Mr. Dressup's Casey and Finnegan and The Friendly Giant's Gerome and Rusty. Thanks again Tatiana :)


  1. I am thrilled that I was able to identify the statue for you. Those characters are like old childhood friends that I haven't thought about for a while. And the Japan phenomenon is interesting, it definitely happened after I left Russia, although like you, I'm not surprised. They really were wonderful books, and the humor in them shines to this day.

  2. Hi Tatiana, I really enjoyed seeing them on video. They are darling characters from a simpler time. I only wish that we all could be so easily entertained now - but sadly our appetites seem to be insatiable.

  3. Oh, how sweet. I've never heard of these characters till now, but I can certainly see why they would be embraced.

    And, my goodness, Jane, you brought back so many memories mentioning Mr. Dressup's Casey and Finnegan, and The Friendly Giant's Gerome and Rusty. I loved both those programs when I was a child!

  4. You should take a crack at writing children's books. You write extremely well and your posts are always interesting. Going from your blog to mine is like walking from plush carpet to sandpaper. :)

    Both Martha and yourself have inspired me to do much better. (Though I must confess it will be a chore as grammar and I did not get along in school!)

  5. Hi Martha, They sure are darling. Now I am thinking I should mosey on over to YouTube and source out a video or two of our own childhood friends :)

  6. Hi WebDebris, Thank you for the very kind words :) - I am inspired and challenged by all the blogs I visit, including yours which is very well done and unique. We are our own worst critics.


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