Mike Berenstain

The Berenstain Bears: Blessed are the Peacemakers

April 26, 2018

Contrived story, contrived ending, poor writing.

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.


Don't fight because the Bible says not to.

The Berenstain Bears Trim the Tree

November 9, 2017

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.


Decorating Christmas trees is fun.

The Berenstain Bears: The Very First Christmas

November 9, 2017

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?


This is the story of Christmas.

The Berenstain Bears: We Love Trucks!

October 7, 2016

Tiresome book about trucks.

It's pretty simplistic. It kind of makes me think of Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things that Go, which my kid had a copy of and which was a lot more interesting than this book, but apparently a lot of fun to rip into pieces as well.


Trucks are awesome.

The Berenstain Bears: We Love Soccer!

September 27, 2016

Do we love soccer? Who knows.

Maybe she just wants them to play harder and isn't giving them any real advice? Do they even have a coach? It's unclear why they're not having fun at first.


“Having fun is what playing a game is all about.”

The Berenstain Bears Come Clean for School

September 23, 2016

The authors didn't care enough to write a story.

It feels like it should go somewhere as a story, but it doesn't. There's no story here. It's just a framing device for a lecture.


Wash your hands, or you'll still be sick.

The Berenstain Bears' Sleepover

September 23, 2016

Hijinks stereotypically ensue.

We're supposed to get into trouble! Let's get into some super-stereotypical trouble right now!


Go to sleep at a sleepover? Sleepovers are exhausting for parents?

The Berenstain Bears Go Out to Eat

September 23, 2016

Skip this one and stay home.

It kind of sucks that Mama still has to be in charge of a lot of things even though it's supposed to be her night off.


Give your mom a break every once in a while.

The Berenstain Bears' New Kitten

September 23, 2016

You can never have too many pets.

Kids probably shouldn't just randomly take home animals that they find in a pond, whether or not they're kittens. They might have rabies, or something worse.


Kittens make good pets.

The Berenstain Bears at the Aquarium

September 23, 2016

More boring than a real aquarium.

These kids are just a frigging pain. They just will not shut up about the stupid dolphins and whale.


The only interesting things that live underwater are dolphins and whales.