Storytime with Shantelle – Berenstain Bears

Berenstain Bears or Berenstein Bears? Oh, internet..

berenstain bears

There seems to be an ongoing war on the internet about whether one should spell the above subject Berenstain Bears or Berenstein Bears? A weighty topic I’m sure you agree. It’s even taken on the epic proportions of a conspiracy theory up there with JFK’S assassination and Roswell. As I’m not willing to accuse The Berenstain Bears of genetic manipulation or hiding in grassy knolls I feel I must move on. I have a vague memory from watching the cartoons and reading the books that it was spelt Berenstein bears but I’m not willing to bet my lower intestine that I’m correct so I have cowardly kept out of it. (I may go in later under an assumed name and proclaim loudly that only sheer morons believe the spelling is Berenstain but that fight is for another day.) What really intrigues me is how very moral the Berenstain Bears has become. Peruse the following list-

  • The Berenstain Bears come clean for school                                                       gimmies
  • The Berenstain Bears Computer Trouble
  • The Berenstain Bears learn about strangers
  • The Berenstain Bears and too much junk food
  • The Berenstain bears forget their manners

I’m waiting for the adult versions of these books;

  • The Berenstain Bears survive a nasty divorce
  • The Berenstain Bears learn never to binge drink
  • The Berenstain Bears learn the benefits of a gluten free diet after passing out on the bathroom floor.

Three Berenstain Bear books for storytime

Moral or not, the kids love these books by Jan and Mike Berenstain and parents seem to find them engaging enough to read over and over again. Brother Bear and Sister Bear (I can only imagine going through life as Mother Human or perhaps Wife Anthropoid (I do resemble a human being in form) are about to start a new school year.  Mother Bear, a paragon of saintly rectitude, needs to sometimes push Papa Bear in the right direction as he seems to live on the edge a little, pushing the tree house boundaries. A perfect example of this reckless abandon is The Berenstain Bears Come Clean for School. Mother Bear implores her cubs and her hubby to wash their paws and cover their mouths whilst coughing. Papa Bear cries ‘piffle’ (the rogue) and allows his offspring to splutter their way through the morning until they arrive at school to a sheer cacophany of sneezes and sniffles. Papa Bear is a parent volunteer that day and must sit in on a lecture from Dr Grizzly on the spreading of germs and other nasties. Enter Jerry the Germ. I would have preferred Eduardo The Germ or maybe Wolfgang The Germ but I’ll roll with it. Jerry plays as merrily as a spring lamb in May and passes on his filth to all that come near him. Sister Bear and Brother Bear learn speedily that lack of hygiene doesn’t pay but Papa Bear is still in full rebellion and eventually ends up in bed with a streaming cold and hot chicken soup. This is a lovely, fun book with a story line that young readers will find accessible and entertaining.

berenstain bears come clean for school - book cover

Jerry the Germ is no more.

 Come clean for school

The Berenstain Bear family even become high tech and purchase a computer in The Berenstain Bears Computer Trouble. Papa Bear initially bought this gadget of the devil to do his taxes and set up an accounting system but very soon Brother Bear and Sister Bear are emailing, twittering, IMing and generally social networking up to wazoo. Mama Bear starts to buy and sell things on e-Bear (clever) and even Honey Bear  manages to snag a toy computer and is soon ABC-ing and Dora the Explore-ing to her heart’s content. Seems everyone’s a cyber bully these days and it’s when Sister Bear is called a ‘fuzzy-faced hair ball’  on her Pawbook page that things hit the wall. Brother Bear is furiously net surfing and Mama Bear won’t leave the screen as a bidding war is on and Honey Bear hasn’t been changed in three days and that’s when Papa Bear brings down the hammer. Internet rules are discussed. One hour a day and then it’s outside to play and back into the kitchen for Mama Bear. I do like this message of active play, conversation and family time. Having experienced the trauma of tearing kids away from electronic devices, this book is a lovely reflection of how most modern parents feel: (as if their child’s childhood has been high jacked by Auto Man).

The Berenstain Bears - computer trouble - book cover

 Read a book Bears!!!!

Computer Trouble

In The Berenstain Bears Go Out to Eat Mama Bear is freed from the kitchen, the garden, the child rearing and the endless preserving and taken to the Bear County Grill. Even bears must wait it seems so Papa Bear takes the children on an exploration around the park, greeting ducks, geese and any number of pond friendly inhabitants. Mama Bear is allowed to put her feet up and wait for her lovely, cooked meal. My favourite part is Mama Bear’s insistence that Sister Bear and Brother must have a side of broccoli with their hamburgers. As I do the daily fight with my little blossoms as to what they can put in their mouths, Mama Bear became my new hero. Healthy food choices are hard work when your out with kids so I appreciate any assistance in the battle. I’m sure mums around the globe will agree.

The Berenstain Bears - go out to eat. Bool cover

 I don’t care! Eat your vegetables!

Go Out to Eat

Kid Bear Craft Using A Fork

The Berenstain Bears would craft it up as a family so here is a delightful craft using a fork! ( A reminder to the kids to use the correct utensils at all times).


Materials : You will need brown paint, paper, a fork, glue, scissors, ribbon, and a black marker.

  1. Dip the bottom of your fork into brown paint and start making lines in a circle
  2. Cut out some eyes and a nose with paper. Take a paintbrush and make some bear ears on the top of his head.
  3. Glue on the pink ribbon and add a smile with a black marker! Don’t forget the pink inside of his ears.

Bear like songs and songs with bears

There are many bear like songs and songs with bears in them so I have selected but a few.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear – Nursery Rhyme

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, jump up high.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the sky.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, bend down low.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch your toes.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn off the light.
Everybody say shh!
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say goodnight.

Five Little Bears

(Counting up)

One little bear
Wondering what to do
Along came another
Then there were two!

Two little bears
Climbing up a tree
Along came another
Then there were three!

Three little bears
Ate an apple core
Along came another
Then there were four!

Four little honey bears
Found honey in a hive
Along came another
Then there were five.

All kidding aside, I really do like children’s books that in a clear, precise and non patronising way, tell children that it’s actually o.k to turn off the computer and go out to play. It’s o.k to be responsible for your health and to be aware of strangers and other nasties. Children’s books are a fantastic medium to educate kids about the world around them but to let them also be kids. I’m not a fan of movies and books that are directed at children yet introduce concepts that a forty five year would have trouble deciphering. The Berenstain Bears manage to reach the right balance. You will find a wide selection of The Berenstain Bears books in our library catalogue and the school holidays is a perfect time to get the kids started on them.


Shantelle

Author: Shantelle

Hi, I used to be the Youth Services Librarian for Coobellup Library. My role included running Story time, Creative Kids sessions and Lego Club. I really enjoyed my time working for Cockburn Libraries. Shantelle

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Storytime with Shantelle – Berenstain Bears

by Shantelle time to read: 7 min
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