Homespun advice, Berenstain Bears style.
The art, drawn from many episodes in the long-running series of easy readers, is generally too generic to constitute a trip down Memory Lane for older fans, but despite frequent views of Mama Bear in her scandalously dated cap and housedress, it serves the accompanying pithy apothegms well enough. With occasional colloquial notes (“Don’t stress and give yourself a fright!”), the narrative offers a path to success and happiness paved with simple pleasures such as feeding ducks, taking naps…and occasionally cutting loose: “Lose your inhibitions” (illustrated with Brother and Sister Bear running around in their underwear); “Let yourself be a bit naughty” (trying on lipstick and shaving cream); and “Maybe it’s just time to par-tay” (the bears get down at what looks like a neighborhood block party). Elsewhere, such lines as “Beware procrastination,” “Never underestimate the value of hard work,” and “Get up and get going!” address readers uncomfortable with such seeming idleness. Still, despite a warning against too much TV (video games, internet) and a caution that the world is “full of sharks…and wolves,” the tone is positive overall and there is no heavy moralizing to dull the shiny precepts.
A feel-good digest of salutary sentiments, contradictory in spots but not overly earnest. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)