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November 30, 2005

The Berenstain Bears and Dealing With Death

Being readers, we were all in on the read-early, read-often theory. Leslie took care of the heavier stuff -- she'd read Ben the entire Lord of the Rings series three times by the time he turned 5. Same for Katherine.

I mostly did lighter things: Disney books, Dr. Seuss stuff, a National Geographic all-about-animals series, etc. All OK, though after reading them 50-100 times each, I was sometimes snoozing faster than the kids.

Except with the Bears. No matter how many times I got a request for a Bear book, whether the topic was going off to camp, visiting Grandma, dealing with the bully or having a bad hair day, some little magic kept the story fresh. Great illustrations, too. The cozy tree house deep in the heart of bear country is forever etched in my memory.

A thank you, here, to Stan Berenstain, who died this week at age 82. He and his wife, Jan, created the Berenstain Bears and in dozens of books endeared them to countless children -- and adults. (Wikipedia entry) (Official Bear Country site)

You did good, Stan.

View or sign Stan Berenstain Guest Book

Posted by jcb at November 30, 2005 09:41 PM


An example of how lucky we are in the Quad Cites, to have The Passing Parade and John Beydler.

Posted by: blacklabcrossing at December 1, 2005 08:59 AM

Thanks for the link to the guestbook for Stan. One of the things I appreciated about the Berenstains was the portrayal of Sister Bear. She was shown enjoying BOTH her dolls and playing sports, and there was never any implication that she has fewer choices than Brother Bear.

In the very early books, Papa Bear is just a bit too much the buffoon, and Mama Bear just a smidge too much the wise know-it-all. The Berenstains quickly and wisely made those roles less one-sided in subsequent stories. And in "Mama's New Job" they let the Bears figure out what most of the rest of us did -- that both of your parents can have a job outside the home --- without anybody suffering -- if the family works together.

Posted by: Vita at December 1, 2005 11:23 AM

Right on target. My sons, who are now eight and ten, and my daughter, who turned five the other day, have all enjoyed all of his books. He was an exceptional children's book author.

Posted by: Porter McNeil at December 1, 2005 05:21 PM

Your article on the hog-processing plant and the meeting at city hall was very interesting.

Posted by: Anonymous at December 6, 2005 10:53 PM

The animated television show is nice as well. It teaches good life lessons. And both my 7 and 3 year old enjoy it.

Posted by: GoofyFarker at December 21, 2005 01:49 PM