Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Berenstain Bears Collection

Who doesn't LOVE The Berenstain Bears, right?! They are a rite of childhood, at least in my family. I'm excited to bring to you a collection of their books at various levels thanks to Zonderkidz! They sent all four of these books for me to review, and one of those books I'll be giving to my daughter for my FIRST grand baby!!

by Jan & Mike Berenstain
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 9780310769583


Take a beautiful nature walk through Bear Country with the beloved Berenstain Bear family. Mama, Papa, Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear savor the great outdoors and greet all their animal friends. From a family of ducks nestled amongst the cattails to Mrs. Rabbit in a cabbage patch, you'll enjoy the great outdoors and say "hi" to many different animal friends.

My Review:

There are SO many things to love about this book. First, it starts off with a scripture. Throughout the book, the family sees how God provides different for a variety of animals. I also appreciate that they help children understand that you don't have to be inside of a building to be at "church".

Visually, the pages are wonderful! Many different sceneries from the garden to the forest to the swamp and more! Can I just say that the heron is my favorite? Each of the animals are identified in the story by bold colored words! It helps the animal names stick out for children to be able to identify something different as they're being read to.

This is going to be the first book I give my unborn grand baby! I can't wait to give it to my daughter.

by Mike Berenstain
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 9780310763727


In The Berenstain Bears Honesty Counts the Bear family is headed out for the annual cub campout and are especially excited about the canoe race down Rapid River. Who will win the big race and ribbons? The competition between Brother and Sister’s team and Too-Tall’s gang is fierce. But when Too-Tall and his gang decide that winning is the most important thing—even more important than telling the truth—Preacher Brown makes sure the cubs remember just how important honesty is!

My Review:

I appreciate stories that we can read to our children and grandchildren that gives them life lessons on a level they can relate to and understand. I love the expressions on all of the bear faces on the cover of the book. They're each having a different reaction to a lie being told.

The story is one that will be exciting to preschool and elementary age children. There's excitement for the competition and adventure as the bears compete against each other in the canoe race! The illustrations are fun and I think will be engaging for children. They can imagine the thrill of the ride both canoes take.

Of course, there's the lesson in being honest after being caught in dishonesty. The illustrations help show how the other bear team uses a short cut to beat Sister's team and their reaction to learning the truth. I'm thankful that scripture is brought in to teach Too-Tall's team the value of being honest.

by Stan, Jan, and Mike Berenstain
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 9780310768067


Is it ever the right time to follow the wrong crowd?

Something’s up with Brother Bear. He’s talking tough, he’s walking tough, and he has a new hobby: shooting hoops with Too-Tall and his trouble-making team. And basketball isn’t the only new pastime Brother takes up when he falls in the wrong crowd.

Find out what happens when Brother Bear must decide whether to follow the crowd or stay true to himself.

My Review:

Whew, Brother Bear certainly gets tangled up with the wrong crowd in this story! It's pretty intense for little ones to read, but in a way that they can see how making choices to hand out with the wrong people just isn't worth it.

First, I like the relational pieces of this whole story. First, we see how Brother Bear's choices impact his relationship with Sister. I thought it was so sweet that she was incredibly concerned about the fact that something had changed with Brother and that change wasn't a good one. She made it her business to find out what was going on. Second was his relationship with his friend, Fred. It was a really good example of how we can bring our friends into a situation that isn't good for them either. And lastly, his relationship with the guys in Too-Tall's gang. It caused some division within their group as Too-Tall was using Brother.

The writing is such that a young reader will be able to read the story and understand what they're reading. The words aren't too "big". The font though is a great size for elementary age children. I appreciate that there are illustrations throughout the story because as we know, kids at this age are still enjoying pictures. The chapters are short enough to give them easy stopping points as they read through either on their own or with someone else.

It teaches a great lesson on how the choices we make not only effect us, but everyone around us.

by Stan, jan, and Mike Berenstain
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 9780310768043


Save the birds! Save the trees! That’s what the cubs are saying around Bear Country. If Squire Grizzly gets his way and cuts down the trees in Birder’s Woods, the yellow popinjays will have nowhere to rest. They could disappear forever. It’s up to the cubs to save this important part of nature before it’s too late!

My Review:

Like the previous book, this is an early reader chapter book, but I found it a bit different than the first one. The font is a bit smaller, the words are a bit harder along with phrases like "lower on the bell curve of intelligence" which I'm guessing most younger children won't comprehend. lol 

There is a strong message of conservation in this story and I think it's important for children to know that even at a young age they can make a different. It's also for them to understand how important the world around them is.

The relationships of different bear families in Bear Country become strained and the debate as to whether or not a housing development should be built or if the natural land should remain, especially since a yellow popinjay has been spotted and it was supposed to be extinct.

I was surprised at how tense the storyline was. There were strong opinions on both sides of the issue. I would say this is a story that should illicit a good conversation between your child and yourself. Issues that effect our world are ones that should be discussed and worked through using this story as a great basis to start.

About the Authors:

Stan and Jan Berenstain were already successful cartoonists for magazines and adult humor books when they began writing children's books. The first story starring the bear family, The Big Honey Hunt, appeared in 1962. Since then, more than 370 Berenstain Bears books have been published, and more than 300 million copies have been sold. What began as an idea sparked by their young sons' love of reading has become over the years arguably the best-selling children's book series ever.

Since their inception, the Berenstain Bears stories have expanded to include picture books, beginning readers, and chapter books--even a hit TV show on PBS. Writing and illustrating the books has become a Berenstain family affair. Mike joined with his parents as a creative team in the late 1980s. The Bear family has expanded over the years as well. Sister Bear arrived in 1974, and baby Honey joined the family in 2000. 

Though Stan died in 2005 and Jan in 2012, Mike continues to create the delightful Bear adventures from his studio in Pennsylvania.


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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.