Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Berenstain Bears' Science Fair

[Update: I'm required by the new FTC guidelines to tell you that this post includes Amazon Affiliate links. I choose these books myself, from the local library or my own bookshelf.]

Ah, the Berenstain Bears. I don't know about you, but these guys were all over the place when I was a kid. And I have mixed feelings about them.

The Berenstain Bears have been around for thirty years or so. And there's a difference between the earlier books and the later ones. The later ones, which most of us are familiar with, are usually about interpersonal issues--the little bears do something wrong, and the parents step in to fix the problem. (For example, The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners or The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies.) Lesson learned, family hug!

Except, not really. The thing with books and TV shows like this (and there are LOTS of them) is that most of the story is spent on the bad behavior, and only a little bit spent on the right behavior. So what do most kids learn from reading the story? Yep, the bad behavior. How many of you ever learned anything good from watching Full House? Or were you like me, and you learned all your best insults from watching Full House?
Was that just me? Okay then, moving on.

So the earlier Berenstain Bears books are different. They're more about learning the ABC's or nursery rhymes. Or...science! Which brings us back to The Berenstain Bears' Science Fair. Papa Bear teaches the little bears about machines, matter, and energy. Sounds kinda hard, but Little Boy understood quite a bit of it. Papa Bear does a pretty good job of explaining things simply. And he's kinda goofy.

I wouldn't read this book to a toddler. But if you know a kid who's starting to ask questions about how things work, The Berenstain Bears' Science Fair does a decent job of explaining basic concepts in a silly way.

The Berenstain Bears' Science Fair is available from Amazon.com
Written by Stan & Jan Berenstain
Age range: 4-8 (Age ranges are very flexible.)

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