Jan Berenstain, co-creator of Berenstain Bears children's books, has died


24 Responses to “Jan Berenstain, co-creator of Berenstain Bears children's books, has died”

  1. GawainLavers says:


    …Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer lamented the popularity of the books…

    No greater endorsement.  RIP.

    • Toby says:

      I loved these books as a kid. But I read The Berenstain Bears and the Perfect Crime (Almost) with my son this week.  The moral was a weirdly right-leaning, in my opinion.  A lot of their recent books are overtly religious (eg: The Berenstain Bears Show God’s Love and The Berenstain Bears Let the Bible Be Your Guide).  Seems like they have changed in recent years, honestly.

      • GawainLavers says:

        That’s what I find so remarkable — that their fairly unobjectionable, apolitical books somehow are insufficiently “conservative”.  Maybe if they had more pictures of dear leader in a cowboy had in the background or something.

        I’d just gone to Wikipedia because I’d always remembered them as the Berenstein Bears, then was surprised to see that little section.

      • LinkMan says:

        I think I read somewhere that Jan’s and Stan’s son took over the franchise in more recent years and consciously decided to take them down a more overtly evangelical/social conservative path.

        The early books do a lot of moralizing, but in a pretty mainstream (not anything particularly rightist or religious) way.

  2. Perizade says:

    Rest in peace, Jan, and thank you for delighting so many children for so many decades.

  3. videobored says:

    Just last week I overheard a guy in the coffee shop reading “The Berenstains B Book” to his daughter.  It took me back to my childhood. I loved that one and several other books in the series. They were all just plain great. Thanks Jan, and RIP.

  4. I have read quite a few of these to my daughter. They were always delightful stories, with a decent moral to be had, but I never found them overly preachy.

    And to think: the books were named by Dr. Seuss!

  5. Alan Olsen says:

    I grew up on a different set of Berenstain books. The “Lover Boy” series. Much more adult and un-PC. Kind of a 60s view of relationships as seen through the eyes of MAD and other demented humorists. They are out of print, but you can find them if you look hard enough.

  6. I grew up on these, but I have a sneaking suspicion they were rather conservative. Haven’t read any specific critique or gone back to look over them. Definitely loved them and they did keep me from eating Too Much Junk Food!

  7. ChickieD says:

    My daughter was crazy about these books when she was younger. I found a few them annoying, smug, and conservative in their views but mostly they seemed harmless enough. Although some of the books were fun, I couldn’t quite understand their great appeal to my daughter. But sorry to hear that Jan passed on. She gave a lot of kids happiness through reading.

  8. Bodhipaksa says:

    Sad. So sad. So sad seeing scribe’s sentience snuffed out.

  9. senorglory says:

    I remember as a very young child being fascinated by the art in one of their books in particular, the title of which I’m not sure.  The family was at the beach, and someone had decided to jump off the pier without looking first and was headed for some rough looking rocks and sea shells.  The  sea creatures and even the pier on the beach were so different from the beach I knew growing up on the Gulf Coast, and so well drawn, that really I thought it was the neatest thing I had ever seen.  I remember pulling that book out to look at that one scene at different times for what seemed like a period covering years.  

    I wonder if in a few years the same book will inspire my own child… assuming kids are still reading books by then.  

    • Howlsthunder says:

       Yes! I had that same book – “The Bears Vacation” is its title. I, too, was fascinated with the artwork and all the underwater dangers. I grew up far from any beach so I had quite a loaded idea of what it would be like the first time I finally went to one (Hawaii). :D

  10. amandamagee says:

    Such a legacy. I’ll read the latest Berenstain Bears library book my kindergartener brought home with a lump in my throat. So grateful for the generational thread they’ve had.

  11. zombiebob says:

    I LOVED the Berenstain Bear’s books when I was a kid. My fiavorite was the one in which the kids go to some sort of ancient history museum.

  12. neddyo says:

    pretty sure the “franchise” was sold to some fundamentalist publishers and thus in the last few years the tenor of the books has changed. yes, they always had some “moral” at the end, but the current state of the Berenstain’s is not the original.

  13. montrealfilmguy says:

    About 10 years ago,i worked at a Chapters bookstore and the sales associate was looking for people to dress up as the Berenstein bears to go see the kiddies in the kids section.I accepted.I was dressed in full costume as mama Berenstein and when we walked into the kids department,every face lit up,it’s as if Santa himself had walked in.One tiny little girl was happily telling how she read all my books and gave me a hug around the big costume neck. Nobody heard the sniffles inside the costume.
    Although i was losing weight from the sweating,i would have done it for 20 more hours.

  14. ferd says:

    What a wonderful contribution and long life!  Time for someone to pickup the torch.

  15. snakedart says:

    This was always my favorite of the series.

  16. Diogenes says:

    I liked reading them to my kids, but disliked the way the father was always portrayed as a bumbling fool.  Sure, give a character some faults, but don’t stereotype to the hilt.  Even my kids picked up on it.  They were thrilled when the cubs raised a little hell against the mother’s wishes. 
    For my money, Bedtime for Frances still rules. 

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