Item description for The Berenstain Bears' New Neighbors (First Time Books(R)) by Stan Berenstain & Jan Berenstain...
Overview Papa Bear learns a lesson in the importance of acceptance when a new family of pandas moves in across the road
Publishers Description Illus. in full color. A new family moves in across the street from the Berenstain Bears. It's the Panda Bears, and Papa Bear is a little bent out of shape because they're..."different." But nothing stops Brother and Sister from making friends with the new cubs. When the adults follow suit, they all learn a valuable lesson in acceptance and the dangers of bigotry.
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Studio: Random House Books for Young Readers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8" Width: 7.96" Height: 0.19" Weight: 0.2 lbs.
Release Date Sep 13, 1994
Publisher Random House Books for Young Readers
ISBN 0679864350 ISBN13 9780679864356
Availability 0 units.
More About Stan Berenstain & Jan Berenstain
Stan and Jan Berenstain were both born in 1923 in Philadelphia. They didn't know each other as children, but met later at school, at the Philadelphia College of Art. They liked each other right away, and found out that the both enjoyed the same kinds of books, plays, music and art. During World War II, Stan was a medical assistant in the Army, and Jan worked in an airplane factory. When the war was over, they got married and began to work together as artists and writers, primarily drawing cartoons for popular magazines. After having their two sons Leo and Michael, the Berenstains decided to write some funny children's books that their children and other children could read and enjoy. Their first published children's book was called The Big Honey Hunt. It was about a family of bears, who later became known as the "Berenstain Bears." Stan and Jan planned all of their books together. They both wrote the stories and created the pictures. They continued to live outside of Philadelphia in the country. There are now over 300 Berenstain Bears books.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Berenstain Bears' New Neighbors (First Time Books(R))?
Mixed Feelings About This Book Jul 12, 2007
This particular Berenstain Bear book tackles the subject of new neighbors and interacting with others who are "different" from you.
A family who lives near the Bears have moved away to the city and the house is for sale. Who will move in? What will they be like?
Well, it turns out that a group of Pandas have moved in. Papa asks grumpily "What do you suppose they're doing here?" Mama Bear folds her arms and replies matter-of-factly "...I suppose they're doing the same thing we are--living here."
Papa keeps making petty objections and he admits that he's grumpy because they're "different". In fact, he misinterprets a row of bamboo they're planting as a "spite fence". Papa Bear explains that "spite fences" are fences "bad neighbors put up just for spite. They do it just to be mean and keep decent folks from seeing what they're up to."
This irks me because guess what we just bought this weekend? A FENCE. Do you know why? Because OUR new neighbors had a family gathering during the 4th of July and while we're in our back yard, we witnessed them hit their children while the grandfather threatens them with the belt--all the while using the "F" word like there's no tomorrow and screaming at one another. So unfortunately, we can't do anything about the actions of these scum bags...but we CAN put up a fence to at least block our view of their animalistic behavior and dumpy backyard (that used to be lovely, but is now trashed as they use it for storing crap!).
And Papa Bear's assertions are never challenged in the book (although they DO find out that the bamboo "fence" wasn't a fence at all...but plantings because bamboo is their favorite food). This is teaching kids that if people put up fences, THEY'RE the bad neighbors--and are not only mean, but are ALSO hiding some kind of sordid behavior from "decent" neighbors.
So while it's great that this book explores prejudice and how assumptions about people can be far different from reality, I don't like the fact that Papa Bear acts like a bigot--castigating those who build fences as "bad neighbors".
Thoughtful, Easy to Understand Introduction to Prejudice Dec 4, 2000
This Berenstain book introduces the issues of bigotry and prejudice very well. Pandas move across the street, and Papa Bear is immediately suspicious and a bit miffed by their arrival. He misunderstands the new bears gestures such as planting bamboo sticks for food, and assumes it is an insulting fence. One really delightful thing about this book is the calm easy accuracy about prejudice. Children will relate to Papa's fears and concerns, but they will also understand how incorrect his feelings are when the children bears befriend each other. It shows how easy it is too make an untrue and unfair assumption about another individual. (Interestingly enough, unlike the Arthur books by Marc Brown, this is one of the very few Berenstain Bear books with different looking animals!) The book really works!