In Memoriam: Jan Berenstain March 7, 2012Posted by ccbooks in Nerd Line.
This conversation played out via email between, Ana, me and our father a few days ago. Since it’s between family members who argue, but still love each other, I figure it’s about the best remembrance we can put together for author Jan Berenstain.
DAD: Did you guys put a eulogy to Jan Berenstain on your blog? After aaaaaaaallllllllllllllll those books that we read to you when you were little (or … at least, we read them to Cecilia; maybe we were too sick of them to read them to Ana when she was old enough …)???
ANA: I hate to admit this, but I have no idea who Jan Berenstain is.
DAD: You don’t remember the Berenstain Bears books — sweet, wise Mama Bear, bumbling Papa Bear, mischievous Brother Bear and (I’ve run out of adjectives) Sister Bear?? Cliches and gender stereo-types every other paragraph? Oh … my … gosh! There are probably 3 dozen Berenstain Bears picture books out there and I bet they’re all (or most of them) still in print!
(Pause while he checks the internet)
DAD: Did I say three dozen titles? I should have said 300 titles — aiyiyi!
ANA: Ohhh, those books. I wasn’t sure. It’s not like I ever read the author’s name. And actually, no one in the family ever read those to me. Nobody actually liked them besides me. So I read them at Imagination Station with Melissa instead.
CECILIA: Never read the author’s name???!?! They’re called the BERENSTAIN bears!!!!!!
ANA: In my defense, I was eight at the time.
DAD: This is highly amusing! The reason nobody read those books to you, Ana, is that by the time you were 4 or 5, we were heartily tired of the Berenstain Bears and had sworn to never read them again! So you were stuck with sneaking into ImagineStationation and surreptitiously reading them with Melissa. Last night, your mother and I were having a discussion about how many B. Bears books we actually owned — I said it was at least 5 or 6; your mother was ADAMANT that we never owned more than two (because she hated the books so much)! Danny couldn’t remember if we actually owned copies. But he could remember (frighteningly well) the plotlines of several of the books!
CECILIA: I’m pretty sure we owned copies. At this point though, the only one I really remember is the Goes to School book because Melissa and Miebeth (friends from the bookstore) re-wrote it for me when I went to college. And the one about wanting treats when we went grocery shopping because you DID use that one to teach us a lesson!