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Friday, June 25, 2010

The Berenstain Bears Hurry to Help (Review)

The Berestains are back with more Berestain Bear books!  It recently came to my attention that new books are being published by Zonderkidz, and with a Christian message, too.  (For those of you who don't know, the original creators were Stan and Jan Berenstain.  According to the back of the book, Stan passed away in 2005, but their son Mike has continued to work with Jan on the creative team.)
The Berenstain Bears Hurry to Help

The Berenstain Bears Hurry to Help brings Scouts Brother, Sister, and Cousin Fred together to earn their Good Deed Merit Badges.  Scoutmaster Papa (Brother and Sister's father) comes along to help and oversee them earn their badges.

They come across lots of their friendly neighbors who at first glance appear to be in trouble, but in reality need no help at all.   Miz McGrizz is not having problems crossing the street; she is just waiting for a bus.  The cubs and Papa make her miss the bus.   Farmer Ben didn't fall off his tractor while the tractor is getting away; Farmer Ben is resting while Mrs. Ben drives the tractor.  There are two more incidents like these that make the cubs a bit frustrated and discouraged since every time they try to do a good deed they get in trouble.

Eventually Papa slips and falls.  He needs a lot of help to get home, and the bear cubs are all happy to help.  The cubs didn't realize that they were doing a good deed by helping Papa; they just knew it was the right thing to do.

What I liked:
The book's copyright page opens with a Bible verse.  "Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others. ~Philippians 2:4.  Several Biblical references were in the story, such as the Good Samaritan, "those special letters that Timothy wrote" with a quote (though no verse reference), the Bible is referred to as the Good Book, and others, too.

The theme of this book is helping others.  The bears are actually seeking to help others and not just letting the help happen naturally which is something to be admired. Brother, Sister, and Cousin Fred are all willing to work hard and help others.

What I didn't like:
Though a parent could have a lot of discussion with a child about the blunders of Papa, I was a bit irritated that Papa was portrayed as a clueless bear who jumped to incorrect conclusions.  I think it would be easy for children to not respect his actions and character.

Though this is not a "dislike" and it may sound silly, I missed the typical "themed" rhyming introduction that can be found in the older BB books right before (or after?) the copyright page.

The Berenstain Bears Hurry to Help could certainly be used to teach children to think about others and going out of their way to help friends, neighbors, and even strangers, but I would be sure to discuss Papa's mistakes and not just laugh at them.

Thank you for Zonderkidz for providing me with copy for review!


JDaniel4's Mom said...

I think Papa has been painted badly in several books. In Inside Outside Upside Down he doesn't notice the box falls off of the truck.

Ticia said...

I've noticed it's rather random on how Papa is doing, which is really rather frustrating.

Ticia said...

Oh, and forgot to mention I still love the BB books.

And thanks for the email on book review sites, I'm going to check them out when I get back after our vacation.

Carrie said...

Yeah. I have a hard time with the way that Papa is portrayed. It's a very FUN series and there are lots to like about it! I just struggle with Papa sometimes.

Great review! I liked hearing what you liked and didn't like about the book.

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