Inside the Bear Family Tree house

Have you ever wondered how a family of 5 bears fits into one little tree? While getting ready to illustrate our upcoming book,  The Berenstain Bears Show & Tell we wondered the same thing! We’ll go back through the years to the Bear’s home how it first appeared, and how it has evolved to its current state in our newest book.

A bi-section of the Bear’s Tree house was first seen in 1974’s The Berenstain Bears and the New Baby. In this iteration we see a two storied house. The first floor featured mainly the kitchen and  a small family den, while the second floor houses Mama & Papa’s room and a little room for Brother Bear.

New Baby

The Next full view of the house comes in 1979’s The Berenstain Bears Activity Book. In this iteration two levels  are added: a Basement, and now a third story for Brother & Sister’s rooms.

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While getting ready to draw an updated  bi-section of the Bear’s Tree house, there were a few complications. First off the Bears’ tree house has changed a bit over the years. When illustrating the interiors of the house, the illustrator has more freedom to add space and the tree house feels more like a regular home. However, it gets tricky when fitting these rooms into a cylindrical house in the trunk and branches of a tree. The house is a lot like Mary Poppins’ Bag, much more spacious inside than it appears outside!

The Bears’ Basement

The Basement has not changed much over the years, you can still see the roots of the tree coming down from the ceiling like stalactites, and it functions like most basements do: storage, and a little dark and creepy to cubs.

Basement

The Kitchen & Living Room

Both of these rooms have definitely changed over the years. The Bear Family kitchen first appeared very rustic, with an old time-y stove and love of pots and pans hanging from hooks on the wall. The Bears’ kitchen now is much more modern, with a sink, cabinets, and refrigerator.

Bears kitchen

The Living Room has also expanded from a little TV and a bench in a den off the kitchen to an entire  room with a Couch, easy chair, and room for the Bear Family to spread out.

Bears living Room

The Cubs’ Room.

In “The Messy Room” The cubs had a LOT of stuff. In subsequent books the Cub’s room has been greatly simplified and they seem to have streamlined all of the clutter while still keeping their classic bunk beds.

Cubs' Room

The Attic

Much like the basement the attic has not changed much. At one point it was changed to Honey Bear’s new room, but in books since it has switched back to an attic full of antique treasures.

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Honey's Room

So finally we have an updated version of the Bears Tree house, ready for 2017 in our new book The Berenstain Bears Show & Tell coming out May 2, and available for pre-order now. Side view Show & Tell

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Jan Berenstain’s War Years

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Jan Berenstain in 1942

In 1943, Soon after Stan left for the Army  Jan Berenstain (then Jan Grant) took a break from her schooling at The Philadelphia Museum School for Industrial Arts (Now UArts) to begin training to be an aircraft riveter. She describes the decision in Stan & Jan’s Autobiography, Down a Sunny Dirt Road:

“At the end of the school term, though, girls were talking about joining the WAVES or the WACCS or doing war work. I was definitely missing the the inspiration of working with a full class of talented artists, too and told Mom and Dad I was going to take a year off from school and earn some money, starting that summer.

I showed up at the U.S. Employment Office on Broad Street with some second-year work I’d done in mechanical-drawing and jewelry classes. I was sent the same day to join a class of young women forming up at Bok Vocational School in South Philadelphia to train to be aircraft riveters. After 2 weeks of on-the-job training (meaning we were paid), we joined the workforce at Brill’s Trolley car factory which had won a Navy contract to assemble center wing sections for PBY Flying Boats.”

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Jan’s seated on the far left at the graduation celebration for her Riveting class.

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The PBY Catalina Jan worked on at Brill’s served as a Maritime patrol and search-and-rescue seaplane.

Recently Mike Berenstain unearthed an Essay written by Jan after her return to school, describing more in-depth her experience working at the Brill Trolley Car Factory. It is a stream of consciousness writing that vividly portrays the day to day bustle and exhaustion brought on from the tireless work done by Jan and many women left stateside during WWII.

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Ultimate Christmas Reading List!

Its December and Christmas is just around the corner. Since it is the season of cheer we have compiled a list of every Berenstain Bear Christmas book just for you! We hope you have a Wonderful and warm Holiday Season.

night-before-christmasThe Berenstain Bears’ Night Before Christmas

old-fashioned-christmasThe Berenstain Bears’ Old Fashioned Christmas

save-christmasThe Berenstain Bears Save Christmas

get-ready-for-christmasThe Berenstain Bears Get Ready for Christmas

nutcrackerThe Berenstain Bears and the Nutcracker

trim-the-treeThe Berenstain Bears Trim the Tree

christmas-treeThe Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Tree

christmas-angelThe Berenstain Bears and the Christmas Angel

joy-of-givingThe Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving

very-first-christmasThe Berenstain Bears and the Very First Christmas

meet-santa-bearThe Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear

bears-christmasThe Bears’ Christmas

Guest Post, Myth-busters with Emily Berenstain

Hi Everyone,

My name’s Emily Berenstain, I’m the granddaughter of Stan and Jan Berenstain, and the daughter of Michael Berenstain. I wanted to take a minute to clear up a few things about the books and debunk some myths about our last name.

People have questioned the pronunciation of my last name since I can remember. It’s not a name you hear every day.

Many people would ask me, “It’s BerenstEIN, like the Bears right?” to which I would respond “No it’s actually BerenstAIN, like the Bears”. It was never a big deal when people got it wrong, I would just chuckle and correct them, a simple mistake. But then this last summer for some reason the fact that our name was spelled “Berenstain” and not “stein” got brought up again and again and people took to the internet in frenzy!

It was pretty funny at first, seeing how upset people were that they had remembered the Bear Books incorrectly. “It’s Berenstain? Not Berenstein? My whole childhood is a lie!” I remember seeing someone’s comment on Facebook. Everyone started asking me about it, friends of friends, coworkers, long lost classmates from elementary school. It was getting kind of crazy! The internet presence grew and grew until it was trending on Facebook! Even a few celebrities commented on Twitter about it.

Some people would not accept the fact that they had been pronouncing the name incorrectly for so long. I even saw pictures online where people photo shopped the name to “Berenstein”, it was ridiculous! There were many different theories circulating the internet about our name, some believed we changed the spelling on purpose (why on earth would we do that?), and then a few believed in the Mandela effect. According to the Mandela effect, a parallel universe exists aside of ours where the books are indeed spelled “Berenstein”. My response to that theory is, who knows maybe there is another universe, who am I to say there isn’t? But in this universe, the Bears are and have always been the Berenstain Bears.

-Emily

Mother’s Day with It’s All in the Family

For Mother’s Day we are revisiting Stan & Jan’s cartoon, All in the Family that ran for decades in McCall‘s and Good Housekeeping. These classic cartoons illustrate the ups and downs of Motherhood. We hope you give a big bear hug of appreciation to all of the Moms in your life this Mother’s Day!

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Behind the Scenes: Under the Sea

Our Newest Book The Berenstain Bears Under the Sea Comes out this month on April 19th Through Harper Collins. Check out all of the prep work behind Under the sea, and some of the featured creatures!

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Before starting on a book, Mike Berenstain does some research. In Under the Sea one of the stops the Bear Family makes is to visit a coral reef, and he wants to make sure every creature is depicted accurately. After some preliminary research a sketch is created.

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In the Coral Reef scene there is a lot going on. The sketch is a good way to layout how the animals will interact with each other and create the composition of the page . Once the page is laid out it is time to add color!

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Once the final watercolor is finished, text is added digitally, and the spread is ready to print.

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Below are some of the animals featured and their real life counterparts. You can see how the animals are depicted to fit into the world of the Berenstain Bears!

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Octopus

Moray Eel

These are only a few of the many animals featured in Under the Sea, keep an eye out at your local bookstore for Under the sea, or pre-order online today!