Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Berenstain Bears' Neighbor in Need

Published in 2010, The Berenstain Bears' Neighbor in Need is a nice story about public service and lending a helping hand. Brother and Sister Bear, along with a few friends, are Good Deed Scouts. Today's job is helping out an older neighbor (also their sometimes babysitter) who is mowing the lawn in a long sweater dress. After they mow the lawn, Mrs. Grizzle comes up with a myriad of chores both inside and out of her house, including walking the energetic dog and giving a cat a bath. As a reward, Mrs. Grizzle wows them with magic tricks and sends them home with flowers for Mom.

As always, it's a well-written, nicely illustrated, enjoyable book. One thing that struck me as unusual is the plethora of religious, specifically Christian references in the store. Quotes from the New Testament and references to dictates of the Bible are frequent. Perhaps this represents evolution of the Berenstain franchise--the story is written by Jan and Mike Berenstain which might be the explanation. Either way, I don't know whether the religious references bother me, per se, but they were decidedly unexpected. Appropriate for early readers grades 1-3.

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