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.
Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree
The Big Honey Hunt
The Bears' Nature Guide
The Bears' Almanac