Jan and Mike Berenstain — The Berenstain Bears (The Very First Easter): Book review

Book review by Val Viljoen

If you are looking for a gift for a child aged 4 – 7 this Easter and are reluctant to add further chocolate to the day, then this book might be the answer.

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Mike Berenstain is the son of Stan and Jan Berenstain, who introduced the first Berenstain Bear book in 1962. He has continued their fine tradition of writing about this quaint family which consists of Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Brother Bear, Sister Bear and baby Honey Bear. The books have appeal for children and adults alike, with topics that help small children navigate various moral and safety situations that occur in their young lives.

In this story, Papa Bear reads to his three children about the first Easter from their storybook Bible. It is their bedtime story on the evening before Easter Sunday.

The story, which starts with Palm Sunday and ends with the Resurrection, is short and easy to understand, yet comprehensive. Charming Illustrations take up most of the space on the pages. Everybody from Jesus and his disciples to the Roman soldiers is depicted as a bear, which may take some explaining — but then again, maybe not!

You may also want to look out for other Christian Berenstain Bear books. The original books, although eschewing good Biblical and family values were not specifically Christian. However, Mike Berenstain has now come to faith in Christ.

This has resulted in a series of Christian Berenstain books, published in South Africa by Zonderkidzas the Living Lights Berenstain Bear series. The books seek to teach children about the Christian God and how He wants them to live. Some examples of story titles are: Why Do Good Bears Have BAD days.

Other titles include Stand Up to Bullying, The Berenstein Bears Love Their Neighbours, The Forgiving Tree and Show Some Respect. The books are printed in two different formats.

Single titles come in soft cover, while hardcover books contain three stories. For added appeal, the books all have an activity page.

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