Bears in the Night

10 07 2012

Stan and Jan Berenstain created a fantastic series of children’s books with The Berenstain Bears.  The series started way back in 1962 with The Big Honey Hunt.  Now, 50 years later, the series has over 300 titles in it.  Stan and Jan have both passed away, but their sons (Michael and Leo) have taken over the writing and illustrating.

There’s probably not an American kid who hasn’t bumped int a Berenstain Bears book at some point in their lives, but my kids, somehow had not.

About a month ago, I read an article called 50 Books Your Child Should Read Before Kindergarten.  Since my oldest son just finished kindergarten, I figured he as a little behind schedule, so we set out for the public library to pick up a few from the list that we’d missed over the years.  The first was “The Berenstain Bears series.”  At the time I didn’t realize there were 300 of them, so I just grabbed a random one off the shelf – Bears on Wheels.

That book sat on the front table at my house for two weeks.  The spot where we put books from the library.  Every day, when my son Andy picked a book to read, he avoided that Bears book.  Soon it was due.

I was persistent though.  I returned Bears on Wheels, but picked up The Berenstain Bears and the Sitter.  Once again, the Bears book lost out to everything else we checked out.  After two weeks, it still sat on that little table unread.

I don’t give up though.  I remember enjoying that bear family’s adventures as a kid and I wanted my boys to at least give them a shot.  So, right before we left for our family trip to Arkansas I stopped at the library again and grabbed Bears in the Night.  We only brought about 12 books with us for our 8 day trip, so I figured they’d give The Berenstain’s a try eventually.

Finally they did.  It was sort of forced on them.  One night in our rental house, with all three boys sleeping in the same queen sized bed, they wouldn’t stop getting up, asking for water, wanting to be tucked in, saying they’d heard a noise, asking silly questions – in other words, stalling like only three little kids can.

At the end of my rope, I made a deal with them.  One more bed time story, and then they all had to stay in bead.  Do we have a deal?

Yes, daddy.  Yes, daddy. Yes, daddy.

Fittingly, the story is about 6 or 7 brothers all sleeping in the same bed, escaping out the window, down the tree, through the yard, over the fence, into the woods, and up spook hill in the night.  They went to investigate a noise they’d heard that was keeping them awake, but when the noise – a big ole owl, hooted as loud as could be, frightening them, they raced down spook hill, out of the woods, over the fence, through the yard, up the tree, and in the window.

It could have been a great lesson in prepositional phrases, but my kids are too little for that, instead it was all about staying in bed and going to sleep, which the bear brothers did in the end.  Then, miraculously, my boys stayed in bed and went to sleep.

We read that story for bed time the rest of the week.  They never got out of bed again.  I’ve returned it to the library, but I’m ordering my own copy from Amazon.com today.

I’ve read 37 books so far this summer.  I read Bears in the Dark 8 times, but I’m only counting it once towards my quest to finish 90 books in 90 days over vacation.  

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