THE BERENSTAIN BEARS GO TO SUNDAY SCHOOL

The son of the original creators of the Berenstain Bears series continues the saga of the popular bear family with several titles that focus on religious or moral issues. In this volume, Mother Bear decides that the family should return to attending weekly church services, a tradition that fell by the wayside when the bear cubs got involved in soccer and ballet lessons. As the family heads off to church together on Sunday morning, each element of the service is briefly explained. Brother and Sister Bear attend Sunday school, where they learn about Noah’s Ark from the same teacher who taught Mama and Papa Bear when they were children. Fans of the series will feel right at home with the familiar story structure and cheery illustrations, which retain the same style as the many, many other earlier offerings about the family. Other entries in this new spin-off series include The Berenstain Bears and the Golden Rule (ISBN: 978-0-310-71247-3), The Berenstain Bears: God Loves You! (ISBN: 978-0-310-71250-3) and The Berenstain Bears Say Their Prayers (ISBN: 978-0-310-71246-6). (Picture book/religion. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-310-71248-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2008

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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Fans of this popular series will find this a rewarding addition to family Easter celebrations.

GOD GAVE US EASTER

From the God Gave Us You series

Bergren and Bryant attempt to explain Easter to young children in a gentle, nonthreatening manner, with partial success.

When Little Cub questions her father about Easter, Papa Bear explains the religious significance of the holiday in various symbolic ways to his cub. He uses familiar things from their world, such as an egg and a fallen tree, to draw parallels with aspects of the Christian story. Papa Bear discusses his close relationships with Jesus and God, encouraging Little Cub to communicate with God on her own. The theme focuses on the renewal of life and the positive aspects of loving God and Jesus. Easter is presented as a celebration of eternal life, but the story skirts the issue of the crucifixion entirely. Some adults will find this an inadequate or even dishonest approach to the Easter story, but others will appreciate the calm and soothing text as a way to begin to understand a difficult subject. Bryant’s charming watercolor illustrations of the polar bear family, their cozy home and snowy forest scenes add to the overall mellow effect.

Fans of this popular series will find this a rewarding addition to family Easter celebrations. (Religion/picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-73072-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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