The Legacy of Stan and Jan Berenstain

Jan Berenstain, the co-author of more than 300 books died at the end of February. Her husband and writing partner, Stan, died in 2005. As I considered what I would write about Mrs. Berenstain’s passing, I began thinking what an amazing number of books she and her husband had written together. Many marriages don’t last a lifetime anymore, never mind the thought of working with your spouse for over forty years.

But that’s what the Berenstain’s did. They lived together and worked together to create some of the most beloved books in children’s literature. I’ve read them, my children read them, and if I have my say in it, my future grandchildren will read them. Looking back upon Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Brother Bear and Sister Bear, I don’t remember being conscious of the lessons I was learning as a child when I read these books. I just remember enjoying them. As a parent, I’m glad for books that teach so many valuable principles.

In this article on Mrs. Berenstain’s death from The New York Times, they credited their first editor at Random House, Theodor Geisel–or as most of us know him, Dr. Seuss–for helping them achieve their trademark style that made these books popular as reading primers.

Though my kids are too old for them now, I can’t seem to part with my collection. They are sitting in the floor of my office in a box. Every once in a while the Lil Princess (8) picks one up, but she is an advanced reader, so she’s reading much more involved books than these now. My favorite of the series remains, The Bears’ Vacation. Originally released in 1968 (exactly a month after I was born), Papa Bear demonstrates his seaside safety rules with funny and disastrous results.

As a way to celebrate the legacy of the Berenstains, I hope you’ll share your favorite Berenstain Bears book.

A Cat’s Alphabet Book by Sally O. Lee

Sally O. Lee is back with another creative and artistic title. Preschoolers are sure to enjoy A Cat’s Alphabet Book. Lee is the author and illustrator of over 20 books. Some of my girls’ favorite books come from Lee (The Cake Thief, The Rabbit and the Snowman, The Tutu Ballet).

A Cat’s Alphabet Book is a primer filled with Lee’s beautiful artwork. The friendly kitty seen on the cover appears on each page. From apple to kite, and from lemons to zebra, preschoolers will enjoy turning pages as they learn their alphabet. As an added bonus, readers are asked to find the “Lee” signature in each illustration. What fun! Toward the end there is a page that includes all the letters of the alphabet. The last page asks readers what other words they know that begin with these letters, allowing the learning to keep going after they finish the book.

While this book is much too young for my girls, I am holding onto it to share with my nephew when he’s old enough. I hope little Harry will be a Sally O. Lee fan too!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

  • Publisher:CreateSpace
  • ISBN-10:1456469088
  • ISBN-13: 978-1456469085
  • SRP:  $12.99

 

ABC Animal Jamboree by Giles Andreae

 Are you ready for a book that teaches the alphabet, includes animal facts, and is filled with zany rhymes? Then pick up a copy of ABC Animal Jamboree by Giles Andreae.

With vibrant artwork from David Wojowycz, ABC Animal Jamboree will catch your child’s eye and make him laugh.

“Hello, I’m a big happy hippo,

I sleep in the sun till I’m not.

And when I’m not sleeping

I mooch in the mud,

Which hippos like doing a lot.”

With these musical rhymes, the book becomes a crazy romp of pictures and prose that will delight your young reader. 

It might be too big to fit in a stocking, but this sturdy hardcover will be coveted by kids ages 3 – 7 everywhere. The team of Andreae and Wojtowycz have found a way to make learning fun!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Tiger Tales 
  • ISBN-10: 1589250923
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589250925
  • SRP:  $16.95


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    B is for Baseball: Running the Bases from A to Z from Chronicle Books

    B is for BaseballBatter up! From Chronicle Books comes an alphabet primer that is sure to be a home run with young baseball fans. From autograph to knuckleball and from left field to zinger, this book filled with vintage photos from the American Baseball Hall of Fame and illustrations from David Habben, is one that should be on the shelves in every young baseball lover’s home.

    Babe Ruth, Yogi Berra, Joe Dimaggio, Jackie Robinson, and other baseball greats fill the pages of this primer alongside terms like error, infield, and tag. And the back jacket includes a five-question quiz for kids to test their knowledge.

    Just one in a series of alphabet primers from Chronicle Books, B is for Baseball will leave readers yearning to learn more about America’s favorite pastime.

    Rating:   🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Chronicle Books
  • ISBN-10: 0811860965
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811860963
  • SRP:  $15.99 (U.S.)