Jan Berenstain

The Berenstain Bears' Valentine Party

June 17, 2018
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It's not even a party. It's just a school day.

The best part: On the second page, inside Sister Bear's backpack, is a Valentine that says "My", a symbol of a heart, then a picture of a pair of pants, and then "4 You." Is that "My heart pants for you?" Who says that? That's just bizarre. "My heart shorts for you?" "...jeans for you?" None of those make any sense. It's next to one that's got a picture of a bee and then says "mine" underneath, obviously "Be mine." That's pretty common. Maybe just "My pants for you?" A bit direct for grade school, don't you think?

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Message: 

Valentines are cool?

The Berenstain Bears Trim the Tree

November 12, 2017
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I'll trim your tree, if you know what I mean. And I don't.

It's a pretty inane and simple lift-the-flap book. I feel children of an age where they would still be interested in lift-the-flap books would also be tearing the books apart. But maybe my kids are more destructive than average children. The story is basically just a vehicle for the lift-the-flap gimmick. There's nothing to it; there's no message; nobody learns anything; nothing happens.

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Message: 

Decorating Christmas trees is fun.

The Berenstain Bears: The Very First Christmas

November 10, 2017
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Have yourself a Beary little Christmas.

They have their own Bear Jesus? The world of the Berenstain Bears gets weirder and weirder as time goes on, and as Mike Berenstain builds on the legacy of his parents in a more and more Christian way. Especially given that at least one of the earlier books had a fox creature. Do the fox people have Fox Jesus? Or are they a lesser race that has to settle for the Jesus of another species?

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Message: 

This is the story of Christmas.

The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room

November 12, 2016
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Mama flips out.

Maybe they could have a more natural consequence, like not being able to find what they're looking for, or falling over things that have been left in the middle of the floor. That happens too, and that could be a realistic consequence instead of Mama making threats because she's being taking advantage of as a parent.

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Message: 

Keep your room clean.

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