Jan Berenstain, half of the team that brought you the Berenstain Bears books, died this week at the age of 88. Her husband, Stan, died in 2005. According to yesterday’s New York Times, Stan and Jan Berenstain wrote over 300 books that sold over 200 million copies. Their first book, The Big Honey Hunt, was published in 1962 – 50 years ago!
As parents, librarians and teachers know, the Berenstain Bear books are lesson books. They are not award-winning literature, but they are reliable. There have been times at school when a teacher has asked for a book to address a very specific issue: tattling, watching too much TV, having bad dreams. I’ll go through our collection and look under all of the appropriate subject searches, but there are also books I keep handy for special situations. My special situation shelf includes 5 or 6 stories about the bear family.
Fun Fact #1: It was Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) who came up with the name Berenstain Bears for the Random House Beginner Book series. As their editor, Geisel helped the Berenstains develop their recognizable style.
Fun Fact #2: The baby bear’s name is Honey Bear. I just looked it up. I knew the other two were Brother Bear and Sister Bear, but Honey Bear was new to me.