Friday, March 27, 2009

The Bears' Activity Book

The Berenstain Bears' Activity Book
Stan and Jan Berenstain ~ Random House, 1979


So... I grew up in a small town (or what was a small town) in South Carolina called Pawley's Island. You had to drive thirty minutes south to get to the nearest library so often the book section in The Original Hammock Shop was my respite. It was more of a gift shop with a load of little gifty-type books, but it did have an OK children's collection. Man oh man, I could recognize that place on smell alone, even today. The Workman books like Henry Beard's sailing and golfing or The Official Preppy Handbook.... Peter Mayle's Where Did I Come From?. The spinner racks... Richard Scarry's Find Your ABCs... Simon Bond... 101 Uses for a Dead Cat. The memories of that place go on and on. One such book ~ or activity book rather ~ I was obsessed with, and when I finally got it, I loved and used it to pieces. For years as an adult, I searched for a replacement copy intact, and finally found one that wasn't super expensive. (I imagine all copies in uncut condition are pretty collectible for reasons similar to the one I just described.)

I was seven years old when this book was landed on the shelf and then directly into my hands. I bought it during the summer, and literally... I must have done every activity in it like 100 times. Things to color. Cooking projects. Calendars. Games. The Bear Country Barn Theater. Whenever it rained and I wasn't out trapping tad poles or climbing trees, my butt would be in a corner somewhere with this book doing something out of it. This book was so much fun that I remember every single page some 30 years later. The valentines. The holiday fun. The cut-out Bear Scout merit badges. But, the best part of all... it has a cut-out and assemble Bear Country. I mean, like the whole Bear Country... all of it. From Mayor Honeypot's car to The Honey Store to the tree house... and little paper cut-outs of all the characters... Grizzly Gran. Officer Marguerite. Great Natural Bear.

One rainy day, the boy and I are sure gonna have fun down that sunny dirt road... I... I mean, HE, can hardly wait.

Also by:
Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree
The Big Honey Hunt
The Bears' Nature Guide
The Bears' Almanac

9 comments:

Meghan said...

oh dear. i cannot even stand this. you are infinitely skilled in finding these goodies...

Swati said...

Your description is so vivid, I was almost there, those summers, bare-footed in a cool corner with this book...

james at 10engines said...

i want the bernstain bears' house... woodstove and everything.

Growing Up Cameron said...

You inspire me.

I usually pick books out of Targets $1 bin for Cameron. After reading this, and reflecting on my own memories of The Bears, I can't wait to find some olides but goodies of my own. :)

Heather said...

BLAST FROM THE PAST!!! I totally forgot about this! My brothers and I did all the activities in this book. Thanks so much for reminding me! Just another book to add to the list...

suzanne cabrera said...

I want one!!!! I've always been SO in love with the Bear's tree house. I could move in tomorrow!

Antmusic said...

I'd love to find this... If you like this one, you might also like Mercer Mayer's "Little Monster's You-Can-Make-It Book" (it has a lot of the Professor Wormbog, One Monster After Another, and Little Monster related stuff in it). It is pretty available at reasonable prices and it has A LOT of pages. Mercer Mayer supposedly did some other activity books, but I have yet to be able to find them.

Anonymous said...

Do you remember if this had a craft where you made a pomander out of oranges and cloves or gingerbread-style houses with graham crackers? I am totally trying to find that Berenstain Bears book....

Anonymous said...

I have this book and it is hardly used...just scribbles on a pages here and there. My 2.5 yr old loves Berenstain Bears and we are now using the activity book as it was intended. We just made the tree house.

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