When I was a kid, my siblings and I had quite the collection of Berenstain Bears books. They were these little square paperbacks that fit neatly together on a shelf and featured the Berenstains, a nuclear bear family that lived in a big treehouse. The book themes covered a variety of issues for kids including going to the dentist, moving, and getting along with friends. Kinda preachy in retrospect, but we loved them at the time.
Recently Jan Berenstain, co-author of the Berenstain Bears series along with her late husband, Stan, passed away at 88. Reading the L.A. Times obituary brought back a lot of fond nostalgia of these childhood tales.
However, there was troubling point in the article:
After Stan’s death, Berenstain continued to produce books with son Mike, who will run the family enterprise with his brother. Nineteen new Berenstain books will be published this year.
As my Dad pointed out when I shared the obituary with my family, “Nineteen more books? Really? Are there that many new child-rearing situations to cover and problems to be solve? Maybe we’ll see “The Berenstain Bears Get Carpal Tunnel From Playing Video Games,” “The Berenstain Bears Eat Sustainably Grown Produce,” and “The Berenstain Bears Visit the Laser Eye Specialist.” My brother added, “I can totally picture the cover of “The Trouble With Texting” – Sister Bear is looking at her phone with horror, Papa Bear looking over her shoulder angrily, and in the background, Brother Bear has crashed his car into a tree.”
So I had to throw in my two (ten?) cents:
Top 10 Titles for the New Berenstain Bears Books
10. The Berenstain Bears Encounter the Born Again Bears
9. The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Internet
8. The Berenstain Bears and the Same-Sex Couple Next Door
7. The Berenstain Bears and the War on Christmas
6. The Berenstain Bears go to the Independent, Locally-Sourced, Cooperative Restaurant
5. The Berenstain Bears and the Dangers of Sexting
4. The Berenstein Bears Take a Staycation
3. The Berenstain Bears Learn about TSA Regulations
2. The Berenstain Bears Catch Whooping Cough because Other Bears don’t get Vaccinated (And Other Problems with Listening to Jenny McCarthy Bear)
1. The Berenstain Bears Get Outsourced