The Berenstain Bears: Blessed are the Peacemakers

April 26, 2018
Subheader: 

Contrived story, contrived ending, poor writing.

Review: 

The resolution of this book really comes out of nowhere. It's very contrived and doesn't make a lot of sense: people wouldn't really act that way. It takes place at the school. You've got Too-Tall Grizzly again and the return of a minor character, Ferdy Factual, who I saw in Dinosaur Dig. It's basically jocks versus nerds (although it's not explicitly said that Too-Tall is a jock): Ferdy Factual his friends are nerds, and Too-Tall is a troublemaker with troublemaker friends. The school is putting on the play "Romeo and Grizzliet", so everybody comes and auditions. Ferdy gets the role of Romeo, and Queenie, one of Too-Tall's cronies, lands the role of Grizzliet. At first the two don't get along, with Too-Tall's gang picking on the nerds, but Brother and Sister Bear (who are on neither side, just friends with everybody because they're super awesome Mary Sues) prevent them from getting into a fight. Everyone rehearses and they draw a parallel between their play and Romeo and Juliet (which "Romeo and Grizzliet" is an obvious reference to-- why bother changing it? It's not like William Shakespeare is copyrighted). Ferdy and Queenie get better at their roles and start getting along.

On the night of the performance, Romeo and Grizzliet are in the balcony scene saying how much they love each other, and Too-Tall gets mad because apparently they're doing too good of a job? So he starts attacking Ferdy and then everybody's friends come up and start getting into a fight, and then all the parents in the audience see that their kids are on stage fighting and they get up and start fighting too, and then Squire Grizzly, who is there (I thought Bear Country was a democracy, but they have squires? So apparently it's a cross between the United States and England?), says, "Stop this disgraceful brawling at once. You should all be ashamed of yourselves." And he and the mayor and the preacher go up on stage and then Too-Tall starts placing blame, but the Squire says, "There's never an excuse for starting a fight." (But squires traditionally serve knights, who fight people all the time!) and the preacher quotes the Bible at them and then it says, "Everyone felt ashamed and very foolish." All of a sudden, like, "Oh, the Bible says we shouldn't be doing this, never mind then." And then after that things were different. They never exactly became best friends, but now there was peace between the two gangs.

So basically, people who had some kind of weird grudge for years almost get into a fistfight, and then when they're called out on it and the Bible is quoted at them, they stop what they were doing and become super friendly with each other. That doesn't happen in real life. And it's not like their school is a religious school or anything like that. Not all of them are necessarily Christians.

This is not the worst book ever, but it's really not very good. It's not helpful to anyone struggling with this problem. It's just a parable, and it's a bad parable at that.

The best part: When Brother Bear and Sister Bear are breaking up the fight between the Nerds and the Troublemakers, Cousin Fred (a Nerd) gets involved. "'Let's remember what it says in the Bible,' said Cousin Fred who liked to memorize things. '"Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness."' 'Huh?' Said Too-Tall. 'What's that supposed to mean?' 'It means that if you make peace,' explained Ferdy, 'You will get a rich reward.' 'Oh, cool,' said Too-Tall." People don't talk like that. It's just awkward and bizarre.

Message: 

Don't fight because the Bible says not to.

Publication Year
  • 2014
Age Range
Age Range: 
4-8
Number of Pages
Number of Pages: 
23
Number of Words on Typical Page
Number of Words: 
65

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