Friday, March 15, 2013

favorite thing friday: berenstain bears

Books. Books. Books.  We love books.


In every room, we have bookshelves and baskets overflowing with books.


Many years ago, when I was more disciplined about writing on Fridays about one of our Favorite Things, I had intended to write about the Berenstain Bear books. But for whatever reason, I haven't written about these books yet despite the fact that they are among one of the absolute favorite things in our entire house.

And perhaps on the planet.


When the triplets were around three-years-old, my sister Beth shipped us the entire collection of Berenstain Bear books that she had previously bought for her son (my nephew), Michael.  Beth tends to do things like that ... ship us amazing things that Michael has outgrown. Like the entire collection of Berenstain Bear books. And the entire collection of Dr. Seuss children's books. And the entire collection of the Magic Tree House books. And the entire collection of the Hardy Boys books. And the entire collection of  Curious George books. And nearly every Lego complete character set (Harry Potter, Spiderman, Batman, Star Wars) that has ever been created.

Did I mention before that my sister Beth was generous?

I don't actually think "generous" is a strong enough word.

So we received this big box full of Berenstain Bear books when the triplets were toddlers and they have loved them every single day since.  Loved them so much that several of the books have lost covers...


However, thanks be to the power of 3M packaging tape ...


I've been able to affix most of those covers back on.


Presto! Good as new.


When I was the Girl Scout leader, I would read one of the Berenstain Bear books during each and every meeting because for whatever topic we would be covering in Scouts - there was surely to be a Berenstain Bear book that was applicable to that same topic.

For example... the importance of diversity and inclusion?


The importance of restraint?


The importance of helping out?


The importance of doing your homework?


Oh how we love these books. We've read about welcoming members to the family...


And bullying ...


And the responsibility of pets ...


And what it means to be neighborly ...


And what it means to fit in ...


And what it means to be polite...


And what it means to apologize ...


And what it means to Do The Right Thing.


But I think my favorite Berenstain Book of all time is the book about the Messy Room.


Every time I read one of these books I'm always so impressed with Mama Bear's gentle demeanor.  She's got it totally going on in an awesome Mama Bear kind of way.  And well, it might sound kind of dumb but I always feel like Mama Bear is the gold standard for what Mamas everywhere should be and many days I feel like I'm so, so, so very far from that gold standard.  I'm not even a copper standard.

Maybe tin.  Or aluminum.

So imagine my TOTAL DELIGHT when I read this book and watch Mama Bear have a thorough meltdown.  You ready? It's perfection...

In a nutshell, Brother and Sister Bear share a room and they are bickering about cleaning up their messy room. As you can see from the expression on Mama Bear's face, she doesn't like this scene one little bit.


So while her cubs bicker, Mama Bear does what most Mama's might do ... she decides that if anything is going to get done, SHE NEEDS TO DO IT HERSELF.  Enter the grimace and expression that says, "I've done this 1,000,000,000,000,000 times already and it wouldn't surprise me at all if I continue do this every day until the day I die."


Oh, but then she yanks a muscle and steps in a wad of ... silly putty? gum? chemical experiment? And SNAP. She marches out the door while Brother and Sister Bear are oblivious to what is coming next...

ENTER ... the box. 

Roh, roh! 


Commence Mega Purge! I'm not sure what happened to the goo on her foot or aching back, but Mama Bear suddenly has limitless strength and speed as she starts flipping damn near everything ON the floor IN TO that box. You have no idea how much I love everything about this picture.  The looks of horror on the little bears' faces ... the look of determination on Mama Bear's face ... the arc and blur of things flying in to the box. She's got nine things AIR BORNE all at once.

Rock on, Mama Bear!


Of course with that kind of "cleaning" effort, it's no surprise that the children scream so loudly that Papa Bear, who is outside hears the commotion and has to come inside and inject himself in to the situation. He's playing the Good Cop to his wife's Crazy Cop.  That's only happened 1 or maybe 2 as in HUNDRED times at our house.


In the end, Papa Bear swings in to action and helps build boxes, shelves and a peg board that the bears will use for organization.


And Mama Bear introduces her cubs to color coded boxes and a label maker.


Soon, the room is perfectly organized and every one lives happily ever after.  Wouldn't you know, that's exactly what it's like around here, too.  (For at least 20 or 30 minutes.)


  1. I love, love, love the Berenstain Bear books too!! I would read and reread them as a child.

    You are so lucky to have been blessed with a complete set of the books. I try to give 3-5 of my favorites as gifts when my friends have children. I have purchased some of the books for my nieces and would love to get them the entire set.

    You are a pretty good Mama Bear, from my internet perspective and you certainly are more fashionable than her :).

    Amy F.

    1. Amy -

      We are incredibly lucky to have received a full set of the books. If we hadn't received a full set - and I'd known how much they'd loved them - I probably would have invested the $4 or so every month to build up the complete library. From what I understand, Stan Berenstain's son is now a writer/illustrator of the stories - so I know that more have been added to the collection, although we haven't purchased any others. Maybe we should!!

      Even before our children could read, they'd just flip through them and look at the pictures. They are so wonderfully illustrated, they could tell what the story was about even w/o words. Now, they'll sit in their room and spend an hour or so just flipping through the various books - the message in these stories never grow old!

      I dunno about fashion sense - - Mama Bear's blue and white polka dot dresses and matching cap are pretty awesome. Consider, she made those herself. If I had to make my own clothes - I'd be wearing a white sheet wrapped like a toga.

  2. We LOOOOVE the Berenstain bears here too!

  3. Jen!!! I just happened to look at our old blog tonight and saw you had left a comment....although I am not even sure it was added this year! LOL. It was great to hear from you. I don't know how you do so well keeping up on everything and blogging! You are awesome. I think at this point I need to either give it up and take it off or start fresh and make a new one...... if I can ever get the laptop away from the trio. :)
    I hope you are all doing well, I love popping over to your blog and checking in to see what everyone is up to.
    We are also huge fans of the Berenstain Bears books. My mom had saved all of them from when we were young and passed them down to the girls. I am especially fond of the Messy Room and the one about the Gimmies.....oh and too much junk food....ok maybe I love them all.
    Well, I will try my best to get back into the blog thing this year! If not you can always find me on FB or email. Keep in touch. :) Katie