Tuesday, February 28, 2012

RIP Jan Berenstain

"Jan Berenstain, who with her husband wrote and illustrated the Berenstain Bears books, gentle best-sellers that enlightened preschoolers for half a century with simple lessons about kindness and tidiness, and reasons not to be afraid of the doctor, died on Friday in Solebury, Pa. She was 88." (New York Times)

Every Friday after school during the early 80s, I would settle down with the family Berenstain and delight in their humble anthropomorphic adventures. It was my childhood equivalent of a glass of wine after a hard week's work. Each page had splashes of colour and inviting illustrations. There was simply something about families of animals, living in houses that had me spellbound—and bears were no exception. I spent countless hours in childhood drawing domesticated bunny rabbits in both rural and regal settings (there were also handwritten tales devoted to piglets and woodchucks). My illustrated animals always had cups of piping hot tea and slabs of cake on the table...

I was indeed well past the aforementioned pre-school age the Berenstain stories were intended for but I continued to read the works of Jan and Stan faithfully as I grew out of childhood. I even bought one in my twenties to relive the magic. I'm fairly certain I'll be revisiting my beloved childhood storybooks even when I turn grey.

So long, Jan Berenstain. I raise my glass to you. Thanks for the memories.
“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.
(New York Times)

Sources: Amazon.com, NYTimes.com, Berenstainbears.com

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