Wednesday, February 29, 2012

For the Love of Bears (and the Berenstains)

A few days ago, Jan Berenstain passed away, half of the Berenstain writing/illustrating duo that meant so much to me as a child.  I owned dozens of Berenstain Bear books, and I still have them packed away for a time in the future when I have children in my life who might love to read as much as I did.  Jan, along with her husband Stan, wrote over 300 Berenstain Bear books in about 50 years, cementing their place in the repertoire of nightly bedtime stories around the world. 

My favorite part about the characters in their books is that they were modeled after the own Berenstain family.  While reading the books, Mama and Papa Bear seemed human, and dealt with real problems that children encounter daily.  And after meeting at age 18, Stan and Jan worked together for over 50 years creating this wonderful world for young readers.  How amazing to collaborate daily with the person you love the most.

There will still be Berenstain Bear books (their son is taking over) and I know I'm not the only one who will look back and remember how these stories made me feel like I wasn't alone.  I thank the Bears and the Berenstains for nurturing so many through their words and illustrations. 

P.S. I always loved The Berenstain Bears and the Bully and The Berenstains Bears and Too Much Junk Food.  Any favorites?

Photo courtesy of AP/EW

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