Easter at Home

Most of us will be celebrating Easter while social distancing at home this year. If you are at home with little ones we have a few suggestions on how to make the holiday at home feel just as special as it would with extended family or friends!

Easter Baskets

First off, why not let your little ones help make the Easter baskets. And, do they need to be baskets? Have your kids find a container that suits them, and instead of going out to buy Easter grass make your own! This can be a great way for school aged kids to hone their fine motor skills with safety scissors. Little ones who who aren’t scissor-ready can rip up grocery bags, craft paper, or whatever you have around. These Easter “baskets” may not look picture perfect, but your kids will feel accomplished in their creative efforts at making them. You can always spruce up the baskets with a few treats of your own on Easter morning.

With the grass done, they can make special cards or presents to put in siblings’ baskets, or to mail to family and friends you would normally see on Easter!

If they get tired of card marking and letter writing, how about a few decorations? Cut out a simple egg shape in paper and have them decorate their own Easter eggs to place around the house, or tape to some string for a festive banner.

Easter Eggs

Easter Treats

Sure, you could go out for bags of Easter candy, but making your own Easter treats is a fun way to kill some time with stir crazy kids. Below are two of our favorite recipes from The Berenstain Bears’ Holiday Cookbook. These are great for Easter morning or just a yummy snack.

Krispie Easter Eggs

Carrot Chips

 

Easter Eggs & Egg Hunt

Decorating Easter eggs is already an at-home activity, but did you know you don’t even need an egg dying kit? You can use tools that you probably already have in your pantry.

Mix 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 teaspoon vinegar and 10 to 20 drops food color in a cup to achieve desired colors. Repeat for each color. Dip hard-boiled eggs in dye for about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon, wire egg holder or tongs to add and remove eggs from dye. Dry eggs and then place back in the fridge until you are ready to hide them for your Easter egg hunt!

easter egg hunt

Since the eggs are hard boiled we recommend hiding them right before your egg hunt, so they are not out for long. For talented hiders you may also want to keep a list of where you hid them to avoid a forgotten (and later rotten) egg. Since all of the dye ingredients are edible, you can even use your eggs later (if they are not kept out for too long) for deviled eggs, egg salad, or just to keep on hand in the fridge for easy breakfasts.

Church

If you normally go to church on Easter morning you can make your own at-home service. You may belong to a church that has live stream capabilities, but if not, pick out a few of your and your kids’ favorite parts of your church’s Easter Service. This can include songs, prayers, and a sermon can be whatever will hold your little one’s attention. Our book , The Berenstain Bears and The Very First Easter tells the Easter story in a way that is easier for children to understand. We may be biased but we think it could be a great addition to your at-home service!

bears singing

Count your Blessings

If you don’t attend church or are not particularly religious, Easter is still a great time to take stock of your blessings and what you are thankful for. After the egg hunt, during breakfast, or over video chat, take a moment to share with your family and friends what you are grateful for this Easter. In the Berenstain Bears Easter Blessings  Papa Bear shares his thoughts and we think they are especially timely:

“We are blessed by many folks here in Bear Country. Farmer Ben grows the food we eat. Police bears and firefighters keep us safe. Doctors, nurses, and other workers take care of us when we are sick or hurt.”

We hope you are all staying safe and healthy during this uncertain time, and we hope you have a wonderful Easter, whatever it looks like!

Easter at Home Blog bear family at home

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning Reading List

Spring is right around the corner, and nothing makes you (or a family of bears) feel refreshed and ready for a new season like a good ol’ spring cleaning! We’ve picked a few of our favorites that we think may get your cubs in the cleaning mood; whether its cleaning their room, the house, their community, or even…the Earth!

The Berenstain Bears Clean Up

Spring Clenaing Clean Up 1

In this board book, the Bear cubs work together to clean up their playroom, and later help Mama and Papa clean up the kitchen after enjoying a treat!

Clean Up Image

 

The Berenstain Bears Don’t Pollute (anymore)

Spring CleanaingDon't Pollute 2

Brother is doing a report about endangered species, so he and Sister visit the museum to talk to Professor Actual Factual about what they can do to help save the environment.

Don't pollute image

 

The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room

Spring Cleanaing Messy Room 3

Mama and Papa are frustrated that Brother and Sister can’t seem to pick up after themselves. Will the cubs ever learn to clean up their messes?

messy room Image

 

The Berenstain Bears Clean House 

Spring Cleanaing Clean House 4

It’s time for spring cleaning and the Bear family decides to have a yard sale. Mama Bear goes through the house gathering up all sorts of tattered things—but each tattered thing seems to be someone’s favorite tattered thing! Perhaps spring cleaning will just have to wait until next year.

Clean House Image

 

The Berenstain Bears Think of Those in Need

Spring Cleanaing Think of Those in Need 5

From closets and drawers to the attic and the basement – Papa, Mama, Brother, and Sister realize that they have too much stuff. But what will they do with it all?

Trouble with Things image

 

The Berenstain Bears Go Green

Spring Cleanaing Go Green 6

The Berenstain Bears live in a wonderful place filled with green grass, blue skies, and lots of furry friends. But on a fishing trip at the creek, the Bear family discovers that the town dump is overflowing. It’s spilling garbage into the water! Can the Berenstain Bears find a pollution solution before their beloved county is filled with garbage?

go green Image

 

The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Chores

Spring Cleaning Trouble with Chores 7

Papa Bear and the cubs are having some trouble with chores—they don’t want to do them! When they decide to take a break from cleaning, Mama Bear plays along. But what will happen when the mess builds up . . . and up . . . and up?

Trouble with chores images

Books of the Decade

 

2019 is coming to a close and to celebrate we picked out some of our favorite stories from the past ten years! Check out our reading list to re-discover some old favorites or find new classics for your cubs’ library. We hope you have a great New Years, and are looking forward to a great 2020!

2010  – The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving Joy of Giving HeaderIn The Berenstain Bears and The Joy of Giving Brother and Sister Bear can’t wait for Christmas and all the presents they’ll open. But during the Christmas Eve pageant, something special happens! The Bear cubs learn a very valuable lesson about the joy of giving to others.

Joy of Giving image

2011 – The Berenstain Bears and the Nutcracker

Nutcracker Header ImageIt’s Christmas morning, and Santa has left the Berenstain Bears a special gift—a nutcracker! At first the cubs are more interested in their new video game, electronic toy, and Bearbie movie. But when they put the presents away and put their imaginations to use, the fun really starts

Nutcracker image

 

2012 – The Berenstain Bears and the Dinosaur Dig

Dinosaur Dig HeaderGrab your shovels and join the Berenstain Bears on a dinosaur dig at the Bearsonian Museum in this lively addition to the classic New York Times bestselling series! What sort of fossils will they find? A stegosaurus? A spinosaurus? The mighty Tyrannosaurus rex?

Dino Dig Image

 

2013 – The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Things

Trouble with Things HeaderThe Bears are dealing with a typical family issue … the idea that they need “things.” And even more things! Brother Bear wants a Space Grizzlies play set. Sister Bear begs for a Bearbie dream house. Even Papa Bear thinks he needs a new fishing rod! But thanks to Mama Bear’s wisdom the family learns that there is more to happiness than just material things.

Trouble with Things image

2014 – The Berenstain Bears and the Lemonade Stand

Love their pets headerWhen Mama shares some fresh lemonade with the cubs, Brother and Sister Bear have a great idea—why not make a lemonade stand and share with the whole neighborhood? Sure enough, everyone stops by for a refreshing glass of lemonade, and the day turns into a wonderful event.

Lemonade Stand Image

2015 – The Berenstain Bears Hospital Friends

Hospital Friends Header

The Berenstain Bears take a trip to the hospital and get a special tour! While Brother and Sister Bear see all the amazing things that happen in the hospital, they make new friends along the way!

Hospital Friends Image

 

2016 – The Berenstain Bears’ Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday headerThe Bear family joins their friends and family at the Chapel in the Woods for an Easter Sunday celebration.

Easter Sunday Image

 

2017 – The Berenstain Bears Big Machines

Big Machines HeaderGramps takes Brother, Sister, and Honey around town with Big Jake to learn all about construction vehicles. They see different types of machines workers use at construction sites, farms, and even in the woods. These are certainly no ordinary machines—they are big machines!

Big Machines Image

2018 – The Berenstain Bears’ Pet Rescue

Pet Rescue Header

Join Brother and Sister as they discover the value and importance of pet adoption and animal shelters. They learn how to care for animals and even help Cousin Fred adopt an adorable rescue pet!Pet Rescue Image

 

2019 – The Berenstain Bears Do the Right Thing

Do the right thing HeaderIn The Berenstain Bears Do the Right Thing, Sister Bear finds herself in possession of a one-of-a-kind doll that doesn’t belong to her. After talking with Brother Bear, will she listen to her conscience and do the right thing?Do the Right thing image

 

 

The Making of the Berenstain Bears Meet Big Paw

As we round the corner towards the Holiday season, here at Berenstain Studios we thought we would revisit our second Holiday TV Special, The Berenstain Bears Meet Big Paw! Nearly 30 years ago on November 20, 1980 The Special aired on NBC and has since found audiences on VHS tape, and now on our YouTube Channel. The plot of the Big Paw special would also later serve as the basis for the book “The Berenstain Bears Thanksgiving” Published by Scholastic in 1997.

In The Berenstain Bears Meet Big Paw It’s Thanksgiving in Bear Country. The Bear Family is uneasy when Mama Bear predicts that the “Thanksgiving Legend of Bigpaw” is coming true. The legend says that when bears get greedy and don’t share their harvest, Bigpaw will come to destroy Bear Country. Eventually, the bears all learn a lesson about who Bigpaw really is, and they celebrate the holiday.

Like all of the Berenstain TV Specials, Meet Big Paw was written by Stan & Jan Berenstain. To pitch the idea of “Big Paw” to NBC Execs, Stan & Jan put together a storyboard that we recently pulled from our archive. You can tell by the images below that the original pitch was more focused on Halloween than Thanksgiving, but the main structure of the story is the same. However, it the storyboard does depict a bit more violence than was included in the final cartoon.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Big Paw also featured original music composed and conducted by Emmy-winning musician Elliot Lawrence with Stan Berenstain providing the lyrics. As for the main character, this was the first appearance of Big Paw in an animated form. He had previously appeared in The Bears Almanac from 1973, but has been referred to as “Great Natural Bear”, as a sly nod by Stan to R. Crumb’s character “Mr. Natural”. Big Paw would later  be a featured character in the Berenstain Bears TV Series on CBS in 1985-86.

The Berenstain Bears TV Specials brought together a wide range of talents. All of the specials were narrated by Ron McLarty who would later be regarded as one of the country’s leading audio book narrators, having done over 100 titles and received numerous audie awards. Mordecai Gerstein, a children’s book illustrator and caldecott award winner directed Big Paw and the rest of the original TV Specials. The Berenstain TV Specials were also the first productions for Buzz Potamkin, who would later produce well known cartoon shows including Cow & Chicken, Johnny Bravo, and Dexter’s Laboratory.

We hope The Berenstain Bears Meet Big Paw can get you primed for the holiday season, and maybe instill a little goodwill towards your fellow bears! Check it out below, and find the rest of our specials, and subsequent mid 80’s Tv show on our Youtube Channel!

 

 

I Can Read Summer Reading List

Summer is here! Summer vacation may mean trips to the beach, travel, or quality time outdoors, but it is also a great time to help your cubs gain confidence in their reading. Whether you make time during a rainy day indoors or while traveling to your next destination, it is always worthwhile to read with your little ones. Our summer reading list below includes some of our “I Can Read” books, all at a Level 1. This level is just right for readers who are beginning to sound out words and sentences. Each story features simple sentences and familiar words. To learn more about I Can Read Books, visit their website, and be sure to check out our reading list below!

Around the World

The Berenstain Bears Around the World

From the plains of Africa to the Great Wall of China, there are more sights to see than points on a map! The Bear Family travels fantastic new places alongside Professor Actual Factual in this I Can Read story.

Around the World Image

 

 

Respect Each Other

The Berenstain Bears Respect Each Other

Gramps and Gran go on a picnic with Mama and Papa Bear and the cubs. As the family searches high and low for the perfect picnic spot, they end up learning a few things about good manners and respecting others.

Respect Each Other Image

 

 

Seashore Treasure

The Berenstain Bears Seashore Treasure

The Bear family is all set to have a relaxing time at the shore–but that’s before Papa Bear finds a treasure map! Now Papa Bear, Brother Bear and Sister Bear are diving into the task of finding the booty. Might it be silver, gold, glittering diamonds or rubies?

Seashore Treasure Image

 

Kitten Rescue

The Berenstain Bears Kitten Rescue

In The Berenstain Bears Good Deed Scouts Kitten Rescue, the Scouts spot a little kitten stranded in a tree. Their rescue of the kitten becomes a community effort and in the end Muffy and her owner are reunited!

Kitten Rescue Image

 

Take Off

The Berenstain Bears Take Off!

The Berenstain Bears attend the Big Air Show at Bear Country Airport and watch jet planes, helicopters, rocket planes, and more, all from inside a hot-air balloon! Everyone’s favorite bear family finds out more and more about the history of flight the higher they soar.

Take Off Image

 

Help the Homeless

The Berenstain bears Help the Homeless

The spooky, old house on 1 Spook Hill would make the perfect homeless shelter for Bear Country. The Good Deed Scouts and Old Tom better get busy with repairs!

Help the Homeless Image

 

Gone Fishing

The Berenstain bears Gone Fishin’

Papa can’t wait to use his fancy new gear on a fishing trip with his cubs. But Brother, Sister, and Honey prefer to fish with their bamboo poles and bent pins. Can the cubs’ simple tools be any match for Papa’s shiny new gear?

Gone Fishin Image

 

Get the Job Done

The Berenstain Bears Get the Job Done

It’s clean-up day at the Bear home, and Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear are asked to clean out their playhouse. But soon the fun of sweeping and dusting wears off and playing baseball sounds much more fun. Will the cubs ever get back to their jobs and accomplish what Mama and Papa asked?

Get the Job Done Image

 

We Love Baseball

The Berenstain Bears We Love Baseball!

The family enjoys everything the ball game has to offer, from the seventh-inning stretch to catching a fly ball. Papa even takes a shot as the team’s mascot!

We Love Baseball Image

 

 

Q&A with The Berenstain Bears

Here at Berenstain Studios we get a lot of questions from readers through fan mail, our social media pages, and in person. We asked our followers on Social media what their biggest questions about the Bear Family were and we’ve picked a few to address here on the blog. Check out our the Questions and Answers below to learn more about Stan & Jan, the making of the Bear Books, and where we’re going in the future!

 

Q: Why do you think the Berenstain Bears books have been so successful after all these years? 

A: There are several reasons the Berenstain Bear books have remained successful.

1. The books use humor targeted specifically to the psychological needs of young children. Sometimes, this humor is completely misunderstood by adults. For instance, the character of Papa Bear–accident-prone, over-confident etc.–is a simple role-reversal, or Topsey-turvey form of humor. Fathers are authority figures, often dominating, overbearing and downright frightening ones to young children. Showing a father as error-prone and fallible is hilarious to young children due to its incongruity–its turning-reality-on-its-head quality. Adults often interpret this feature as simply disrespectful of fatherhood and undermining parental authority. but this shows a complete misunderstanding of and, frankly, callous, insensitivity to the real power structure of adult/child relations.

2. The stories, also, are targeted to the narrative forms and subject matter appealing to young children.

3. Most of the books offer helpful advice about and explorations of family and social life.

4. The art combines a cartoon style with naturalistic representation–for instance in the use of shadows and perspective to show dimensional and spacial effects. This is derived from standard early 20th Century techniques of illustration and, while no longer common in contemporary children’s books, is particularly appealing to the visual sensibilities of young children.

Bears' Christmas 1

Papa Bear in The Bears’ Christmas

Q: Was there a point that Stan & Jan thought they were falling behind with new trends to children books? 

A: If this were rephrased as, “Was there a point that Stan & Jan ignored new trends in children’s books?”, the answer would be, “Yes.” Stan, Jan and Mike Berenstain had absolutely no interest in “new trends” in children’s books. they did, and do, create the kind of children’s books they like and which they think children will identify with and enjoy.

 

Q: Main. Classics. Living Lights. What is the most popular book in each line?

A: The most popular books in each line are as follows:

Harper (main line) – The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Chores

Random House (classics) – The Berenstain Bears and the New Baby

Zondervan (Living Lights) – The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story

 

Q: Will there be a movie out soon about the bears? Or TV show again?

We are working on creating new animated Bears content, but have nothing concrete to report yet on that front. However, we have archived all of our 1980’s TV show and specials and uploaded them to our YouTube Channel. All of the PBS series is also available to view on the Treehouse Direct YouTube Channel.

 

Q: Why doesn’t Brother and Sister Bear, have a name like Cousin Fred?

A: First, the characters were introduced as part of the Random House Beginner Book series. These books were designed for children just learning to read and so featured very simple language emphasizing words that were phonetically easy to sound-out and which could be visually matched with and un-confusingly associated with the elements of the illustration. So the initial three family characters were, “Papa,” “Mama,” and “Small Bear.” More complex words like, “Mother,” “Father,” or a specific name would not have have fit this function. Later, when the characters appeared in storybooks with more complex language, this naming model was continued for consistency. When Sister Bear was introduced, it would have been incongruous for Small Bear to suddenly have a specific name so he became “Brother” and the new baby, “Sister.”

Second, the Bear family was introduced in 1962. This was the tail-end of a social and cultural period where it was quite common for family members to refer to each other by their family positions rather than their names. People really did refer to each other as “Brother,” “Bro,” “Sister” or “Sis.” So the Berenstain Bears books reflected this origin. But this naming convention of the early 20th Century nuclear family was not applicable to new characters as they were introduced over the years.

Q: How many Berenstain Bears books are there?

A: We have published over 350 Berenstain Bear Books since The Big Honey Hunt in 1962. For a comprehensive list of all out books check out The Berenstain Bears Bibliography and Blog maintained by Berenstain Bear Book collector, Brad Mariska

 

Q: Did Stan and Jan have a favorite Berenstain Bear book?

A: Stan and Jan’s favorite book was probably The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree. Because of the content of the story, the book was fun to illustrate; with creepy stairways, alligators, suits of armor, and deep shadowy passages.

SOT - 19

Illustration from The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree

Q: What was the inspiration for the Living lights series?

A: In 2005, we moved the publishing of new Berenstain Bears titles from Random House to HarperCollins. Zondervan, a major religious publisher, was part of HarperCollins. Because of his own faith, Mike Berenstain was interested in creating children’s books on spiritual themes. Stan, Jan & Mike were aware that the Berenstain Bears had always been popular in the religious marketplace due to their positive treatment of ethics and family life. So, they approached HarperCollins with the idea of creating a separate line of Berenstain Bears books on spiritual themes. HarperCollins agreed to this and Zondervan began publishing the Living Lights series in 2008.

 

The Berenstain Bears Love Their Pets

February 20 is National love your Pet Day, and to celebrate we’ve pulled together a reading list of all of our favorite Berenstain Bears Pet stories! Check out the list below to see what books we suggest for you and your pet loving cubs.

 

The Berenstain Bears Pet RescueThe Berenstain Bears Pet Rescue

Join Brother and Sister as they discover the value and importance of pet adoption and animal shelters. They learn how to care for animals and even help Cousin Fred adopt an adorable rescue pet!

Pet Rescue Image

 

The Berenstain bears Bless Their PetsThe Berenstain Bears Bless Our Pets

Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear love their pets Little Lady, Gracie, Swish, and Cutsie … they are just like part of the Bear family. So when Preacher Brown holds a special Blessing of the Pets service on Sunday, the Bear family joins in. But what starts as a peaceful gathering of Bear Country neighbors and their animal friends on the lawn of the Chapel—including dogs, cats, rats, goats, and even a snake or two—ends up needing a little heavenly intervention.

Bless Our Pets Image

 

The Berenstain Bears New PupThe Berenstain Bears’ New Pup

Mama and the cubs take a trip to get some farm–fresh eggs, but they end up getting a farm–fresh pup! Now Brother and Sister have to learn to take care of Little Lady, the newest addition to the family.

New Pup Image

 

Berenstain Berars New KittenThe Berenstain Bears’ New Kitten

Brother Bear may have gone looking for bullfrogs, but he found a tiny, helpless kitten instead. After Mama Bear gets the new kitten all cleaned up, the Bear family is ready to adopt her—as long as Little Lady, the puppy, doesn’t mind. With a little extra love, the Berenstains are sure their pets will be great friends!

New Kitten image

 

Berenstain Bears Trouble with PetsThe Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Pets

Brother and Sister are getting a dog, but will the cubs help take care of the new puppy like they promised? The Bear cubs learn what a big responsibility it is to care for a pet as they learn to care for Little Lady!

Trouble with pets image

 

Berenstain Bears Lose a FriendThe Berenstain Bears Lose a Friend

Sister Bear loves taking care of her pet goldfish, Goldie. Sister feeds Goldie every morning and evening, cleans out her tank, and even gets her a beautiful fishbowl castle! But when Papa and Mama find Goldie floating belly-up in her tank, they worry about how Sister will feel. How will the Bear family cope with the loss of Goldie.

Lose a Friend Image

 

The BB Really big pet showThe Berenstain Bears’ Really Big Pet Show

There’s going to be a pet show at the Bear Town Festival this year. The Bear family makes sure all their pets—Little Lady, Gracie, Swish, and their new bird, Keats—look and feel their best for the big day. Who will Mayor Honeypot give prize ribbons to?

Really Big Pet Shoe Image

 

We hope you take an opportunity to appreciate your pet on National Love Your Pet Day, and use these books as a resource to help your cub learn about the responsibility of caring for a pet every day!