Jan Berenstain died Friday at the age of 88. With their Berenstains’ Bears franchise, Berenstain and her husband Stan gently helped guide generations of children through the sometimes confusing maze of childhood. From the New York Times:
The Berenstains’ ursine family most often confronted issues common to most families — the arrival of a new sibling, getting homesick at summer camp, the etiquette of trick-or-treating.Before Stan Berenstain died in 2005, the couple had created more than 300 books that collectively sold over 200 million copies.
“Family values is what we’re all about,” Jan Berenstain told an interviewer last year.
More contemporary and quasi-political issues had arisen in recent years, though, including bullying, the dangers of online dating, and children bringing guns to school.
In an interview with Scholastic, the children’s magazine, Ms. Berenstain said she and her husband were always being asked why they had decided on bears rather than some other animal. Their standard answer was that “they stand on two legs, their mothers are very good mothers, and so on,” she said.
“One student asked why we didn’t use a fish,” she said, recounting a visit to a classroom. “And our answer was that they aren’t enough like people.”
Why not monkeys, then, asked another student.
“Because they are too much like people,” she replied.