Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Bearenstain Bears' Nature Guide

The Berenstain Bears' Nature Guide
Stan and Jan Berenstain
First published as The Bears' Nature Guide
Random House, 1975

You all know my son is a Berenstain Bears fan... often, much to my chagrin. I love the older books but find the newer "moral" paperbacks to be boorish and tedious... and still we have (and have read over and over and over again) EVERY SINGLE ONE. Kids love them. Go figure. However... I do feel the three books from the "Bear Facts Library" are a must-have for everyone, whether they appreciate the BBs or not: The Berenstain Bears' Almanac, The Berenstain Bears' Science Fair, and this one... all big, bulky and full of awesome. Considering all the lackluster Bear books in circulation at the moment, it's a huge shame that the only copies of these three languish in used book bins... dead until resurrected by the powers that be.

That said, here we take a nature walk with Actual Factual, Great Natural Bear and the whole Bear clan through 64 busy pages of fun facts and outdoor information. Some of the nature illustrations are just brilliant, and each page is filled with so many little wonderful drawings and curiosities, that I can't think of a book that introduces the natural world to children in such an entertaining and complete way, Bears or no Bears.

What Is Nature?
It's everybody and everything --
a peacock's tail, a butterfly's wing.
It's snails and stones and dinosaur bones.
Volcanoes! Earthquakes... Cousin Liz!
That's just a PART of what nature is.
from the biggest whale... to the smallest flea.
from the tiniest weed... to the tallest tree.
IT'S THE EARTH ITSELF -- the rocks... the soil.
And from under the earth come coal and oil.
Nature is every person, thing, and place
here on earth and out in space.
Nature's the sun, the moon, the stars.
It's faraway planets like Venus and Mars.
It's the mountains, the valleys, the shore, the sea.
Nature is you! Nature is me!
It's all that IS or WAS or EVER WILL BE!

The rhymes are bouncy and give a nice walking flow to the narrative: the Sense of Nature about sights and sounds; animals, birds, reptiles, insects, fish and plants; right up to what the Earth itself is made up of. Very cool. It really is "Almost everything small bears and kids need to know about the wonderful world of Nature." If you hunt down only one out-of-print Berenstain book, like, EVER, this should be it!

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


Ali said...

We heart this book. Bearenstain Bears at their best...

Antmusic said...

I hope you'll review their Almanac soon too. Great stuff!

Carin Siegfried said...

I'm pretty sure we had this book when I was a kid, and thanks to the Bearenstains, I to this day remember "[Stalag-] Tites are always on the Top and Mites are on the Bottom!" Loved it!

Unknown said...

Earlier this year I wrote a piece on the Bearenstain Bears and their peculiarly enraging effect on (some) commentators: - I just came across your blog and this particular post and would be interested to know what you make of it.

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