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Jan Berenstain Has Died

Jan Berenstain, one half of the couple that created The Berenstain Bears book series, passed away this weekend.

The series began in 1963 with The Big Honey Hunt. This GalleyCat editor grew up reading the series and now loves reading Bears in the Night with his daughter. What is your favorite Berenstain Bears book?

In a Scholastic interview, Berenstain shared the story of how she created the series with her husband Stan Berenstain. Both are pictured above…

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

We had a zoo-drawing class once a week, and we liked to draw the bears. Once we decided to do books for children, we knew we wanted to do animals. We decided to do bears because bears have always been entertaining – performing bears in circuses and so on. Also, probably the best-known story for children is the Three Bears, so it was familiar. They’re sort of like people; the word is called anthropomorphic, and bears are naturally that way. They stand on two legs, their mothers are very good mothers, and so on. When we visited a class a few years ago and gave that answer, one student asked why we didn’t use fish, and our answer was that they aren’t enough like people. Another student said well, then, why not monkeys, and our answer was that they are too much like people.

(Via Julie Bosman)

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