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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

 

 

DIY Christmas with The Berenstain Bears

It can be daunting to create the perfect Christmas for your cubs; The perfect tree, cookies, matching ornaments. But we think a picture perfect Christmas takes some of the fun out of the season. We have picked out some Do-it-yourself crafts and recipes that you can create with your little ones, and in turn craft perfect Christmas memories and a few mementos.

ORNAMENTS

First up, Ornaments! The ornaments Below can be made with odds and ends around the house, with kid-friendly materials.

Homemade Christmas Ornaments inside

We also have a cut out ornament you can create with just a printer, pair of scissors, and paste. First right click on the image of the ornament and save it to your computer. Print on a heavier paper like card stock, and follow the directions also included below.

Christmas ornament instructionsSanta Christmas Ornament Cut out

Are you decorating the outside of your home as well this year? Don’t forget about the local outdoor creatures! Below are some ornament ideas that will provide a treat for birds, squirrels, and other wildlife!

Homemade Christmas Ornaments for animals

RECIPES

Now that you have your decorations ready its time for some Holiday themed treats! Any of these recipes would be great for a crowd, snack time with the kiddos, or an after dinner dessert.

Hot Cocoa

hot cocoa recipe imagehot chocolate image

Cookies

Christmas cookies instructionsChristmas Cookies image

Poke Cake

Cake recipecake image

 

We hope you have a fabulous holiday season full of special times with friends, family, and of course a good book!

Halloween Costumes with the Berenstain Bears!

Are you having trouble coming up with a costume idea for your little ones? Takes some inspiration from the Berenstain Bears! Below we have costumes that have shown up in our books that could work for your cub’s trick or treating.

Berenstain Halloween Costumes Super Hero

In The Berenstain Bears are Superbears the bear cubs suit up in their own super-suits! Craft a super hero outfit perfect for your little one with some tights, unitard, and some felt masks and personalized symbols!

Berenstain Halloween Costumes Princess

Sister Bear dresses up as a princess in The Berenstain Bears Get Stage Fright and The Berenstain Bears Go on a Ghost Walk! A pretty dress just needs a crown to top off this royal costume.

Berenstain Halloween Costumes Pirates

Arr Mateys! It is time to go and find the treasure, candy treasure! The Bear cubs use their imagination in The Berenstain Bears’ Pirate Adventure to conjure up some very authentic Pirate costumes. A peg leg may be impractical for trick-or-treating but every good pirate costume could use an eye patch like Honey Bear’s and a pirate hat.

Berenstain Halloween Costumes ghost

Nothing is easier than a homemade ghost costume! Papa Bear crafts one quickly to scare the Bear cubs in The Berenstain Bears and the Ghost in the Forest. Just cut some eye holes and in a sheet and voila! immediate costume.

Berenstain Halloween Costumes ballerina

Sister Bear dresses as a ballerina in The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat. Tights and a tutu complete this costume, and your little one can pirouette from house to house for treats!

Berenstain Halloween Costumes Fire Fighters

The whole family puts on fire fighter gear in The Berenstain Bears Visit the Firehouse! A plus side to this costume is that raincoat and firefighter hat make sure your cubs stay warm while out on a cool fall night!

We hope you have a wonderful Halloween and please share with us your cub’s Halloween costumes via our Instagram or Facebook!

Halloween pumpkin - Trick or Treat