Monday, February 27, 2012

R.I.P. Mama Bear...

As a Pennsylvania native, it was impossible to grow up without ever reading (at least some of) the Berenstain Bears series.  Written and illustrated by Pennsylvania natives Jan and Stan Berenstain, and in later years by son Michael, this series charmed pre-schoolers and young children for over fifty years. 

Their first book, The Big Honey Hunt, was published in 1962 with the assistance of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Suess), a then children's book editor at Random House.  Since then, they have published over 300 titles in 23 languages. Millions of copies of their stories have reached children and touched their lives.

Based on the Berenstain family themselves, the series was about a family of bears (Mama, Papa, Sister and Brother) who experienced typical childhood issues and faced questions of family values: going to the dentist, entering a new school, going on a picnic, telling the truth vs. fibbing, etc.  Overall, this series was a guidebook for children, as well as their parents, to growing up.

Sadly, Jan Berenstain passed away this week after suffering a stroke. Her husband, Stan, passed in 2005 from complications from cancer. She is survived by two sons and grandchildren.

We can only hope that the family continues the legacy.