25 Things I Learned from the Berenstain Bears

Last week when I heard the news of Berenstain Bears’ co-creator Jan Berenstain’s death, it got me reminiscing of childhood. I grew up learning to read from the tales of the lovable anthropomorphic bears – Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Brother Bear and Sister Bear – from Random House’s “First Time Books” publications from the 1970s and 80s. I still have my collection of Stan and Jan Berenstain’s children’s books. And thanks to the care my mother took, they’re still in remarkably fine condition so I can pass them on.

To pay tribute to Jan Berenstain, I’ve compiled these little mottos and lessons learned from The Berenstain Bears.

  1. No matter how you hope, no matter how you try, you can’t make truth out of a lie.
  2. When peer pressure rears its ugly head, it’s easy for most cubs to be misled.
  3. When the TV is on all day without rest, Mama knows it’s too much – and Mama knows best.
  4. Sometimes little bears’ good behavior ends when they pack their pajamas and stay over with friends.
  5. Bear Country is safe and free of danger when every cub learns to not talk to strangers.
  6. Even little bears expect a good fright when they go out for treats on Halloween night.
  7. Is it so important that he and she bears aren’t the same, when what really matters is how we play the game?
  8. When a cub’s behavior takes a turn for the worst, it’s hard for parents to know what to do first.
  9. When cubs start to twitch or scratch or nibble, what they need is some help, not a lecture or quibble.
  10. First prize, second, third, or none – at Thanksgiving time, more than a contest can be won.
  11. Some dreams make cubs laugh and some make them cry, but it’s interesting to think about what you dream and why.
  12. A bear’s vacation with more rain than sun can end up being the one that’s most fun.
  13. Stuff is all packed and here comes the truck. When it’s time to move, wish a bear good luck.
  14. When a problem at school is kept secret too long, it can grow ’til a cub thinks that everything’s wrong.
  15. Being afraid of the dark doesn’t just happen to you. It happens sometimes to little bears too.
  16. When making friends, the one who’s wise is the cub who learns to compromise.
  17. When little bears spend every nickel and penny, the trouble with money is – they never have any.
  18. Cubs don’t expect the big job they will get when they jump up and down and beg for a pet.
  19. We all have something we do the best – something you do a little bit better than all the rest.
  20. Take a deep breath, stick out your tongue, and go see the doctor when you are young.
  21. Taking good care of their teeth is something all bears do. That’s why you should brush and go to the dentist, too.
  22. When little bears grow up, there are so many kinds of work to do and so much to look forward to.
  23. One’s sense of self-worth is often rundown upon the first time one feels left out of the fun.
  24. When mama and papa bears go away, cubs visit their grandparents for a fun holiday.
  25. When summertime ends and the weather turns cool, it’s time for little bears to get ready for school.

Which is your favorite Berenstain Bears story? What books do your kids read?

Meredith is Associate Creative Director at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @msquare21.

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