Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Berenstain Bear Classics: Get Involved, Treat Others Kindly, and Good Deed Scouts to the Rescue Book Reviews

The Berenstain Bears Celebrate their 50 years with a Brand New Tale and a Look Back at Several Classics

I am really enjoying the "new" Berenstain Bears books that offers spiritual lessons for young kids.  These three books offer seven stories that teach lessons about forgiving, gossiping, respecting elders, and serving others.  Each story begins with a Bible verse and many of them have Questions and Activities from Brother and Sister Bear to enhance the learning of the lesson.  These books are great for showing children how to respond in many situations and can be used for good discussions about life issues. 

**I was given a complimentary copy by Zonderkidz in exchange for my honest review.**
The Berenstain Bears may be celebrating their 50th anniversary, but it’s their readers who are in for the biggest treat—an inspiring new tale along with some classics, revisited!
The charitable efforts of Brother and Sister Bear are put to the test when a nasty storm floods Bear Country in the new book, the berenstain bears: get involved (Zonderkidz; October 2012; $3.99). Brother and Sister Bear, who belong to the Cub Club at the Chapel in the Woods, are thinking of ways they can lend a helping hand to their friends and family members (including Cousin Fred) who live by the river. So when Preacher Brown calls for a community rescue mission, the cubs learn valuable lessons as they join their neighbors to help save their friends from dangerous flood waters. 
In THE berenstain bears: treat others kindly (Zonderkidz; October 2012; $7.99), young readers get three-for-one with a compilation book. The Forgiving Tree (2010) is conveniently grouped with The Gossip Gang and Show Some Respect (both 2011), which remind children about forgiveness, respect, and the hazards of gossiping. Activities and questions for children to ponder follow each story.
In The Forgiving Tree, Brother Bear is thrilled when Papa Bear gets him an awesome new bike for his birthday. It’s just what he wished for! But, being the kindhearted cub that he is, he lets Cousin Fred take it for a spin, which leads to a damaged tire. Fuming, Brother Bear flees to the tree house to sulk. Reminded by Sister Bear that this tree house is the family’s place to ponder poor decisions and return with forgiveness, Brother Bear recognizes his error and apologizes to Cousin Fred.  

Sister Bear, herself, learns a difficult lesson regarding talking about others behind their backs in The Gossip Gang. It was always fun to gossip with best friends Lizzy and Suzie about others. But in this story, Sister Bear learns how upsetting it can be when her friends focus their gossip on her. With the tables turned, she, along with the reader, realizes the significance of the Bible verse, “gossip separates close friends.”
In Show Some Respect, the Bear clan is on the hunt for the perfect picnic spot, but they can’t agree. Brother and Sister Bear want to find a fun, bustling location; Mama and Papa Bear want a place that is sentimental to them; and Gramps and Gran have their own ideas. The Bears are so consumed with what they each want they forget that the elder Bears—Gramps and Gran—should be heeded and respected. In the end, the younger generations of Bears—including Mama and Papa Bear—remember that they should always mind their elders. They also learn that when it comes to true wisdom, grandparents may know best.
THE BERENSTAIN BEARS: GOOD DEED SCOUTS TO THE RESCUE (Zonderkidz; October 2012; $9.99) is a three-book collection of recent Berenstain Bears I Can Read! stories that follow the compassionate Good Deed Scouts. Made up of Kitten Rescue, A Neighbor in Need (both 2010) and A Little Lost Cub (2011), readers will remember why they fell in love with these helpful scouts.
As the Good Deed Scouts scour the neighborhood in search of their next selfless act, they encounter a small cat trapped in a tree in Kitten Rescue. The Scouts struggle to climb the tree, then Papa Bear gives it a shot. Unsuccessful, they decide to call the fire department for help. Desperate to rescue the poor kitten, Sister Bear comes up with the perfect plan to keep the Scouts’ streak of heroism intact.
In A Neighbor in Need, the cubs run into their elderly neighbor, Mrs. Grizzle, struggling to mow her lawn. They quickly offer to help—the do her garden work, give her dog a bath, and even clean her garage. The scouts are happy to see another mission accomplished—and even more so when Mrs. Grizzle returns the favor by pouring them glasses of lemonade and doing magic tricks. As she recites from the Bible, the bears learn, “In everything, do to others what you would want them to do to you.”
In A Little Lost Cub, there is a sad little cub in Bear Country and the Good Deed Scouts are prepared to reunite him with his mother. After going to a police officer for help, Lizzie volunteers to sit with the cub at the police station while the rest of the Good Deed Scouts post pictures of him everywhere, from the shopping center to the train station. The cubs’ persistence pays off when they find little Orville’s mom, teaching readers that no obstacle is too big for determined cubs.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Stan and Jan Berenstain introduced the first Berenstain Bear books in 1962. Mike Berenstain grew up watching his parents write about and draw these lovable bears. Eventually he started drawing and writing about them too. Since the late 80s, he has been very much involved as a writer and illustrator with his family’s creation, the Berenstain Bears. He continued to work with his mother, Jan, creating new books, up until her death this year. The antics and activities of Mike’s three children have inspired many Berenstain Bears books over the years. Though Stan and Jan passed away in 2005 and 2012, respectively, Mike continues to create the delightful Bear adventures from a studio in Pennsylvania, in an area that looks much like the sunny dirt road deep in Bear Country.
Zonderkidz, a division of Zondervan, inspires young lives through imagination and innovation. As the leader in Christian children’s communications, it produces bestselling and award-winning Bibles, books, board books, graphic novels, audio, video and digital products that awaken the hearts and touch the souls of kids under 16 and the people who love them, from family members to educators. Zonderkidz is the publisher of the NIrV (New International Reader’s Version) Bible translation, the 3rd-grade reading level edition of the NIV that is ideal for children and those who speak English as a second language. Visit Zonderkidz on the Internet at

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