Co-Creator of The Berenstain Bears, Jan Berenstain, DiesMonica Bielanko
Out of bed.
Out of bed. To the window. At the window.
Out the window.
Out the window. Down the tree.
Out the window. Down the tree. Over the wall.
Come on, say it with me! Everybody now!
And so go the words to one of my 3-year-old daughter’s current favorites, Bears In The Night. Which I’m going to read to her tonight before bed in honor of Jan Berenstain, who, as Jezebel reports, passed away Thursday at the age of 88. She suffered a stroke and never woke up. Her husband, Berenstain Bears co-creator Stan, died in 2005 at age 82.
Their story is a sweet one. As Jezebel reports:
According to the Associated Press, Jan and her husband and eventual collaborator Stan met on their first day of art school in 1941. With the aid of one Theodor Geisel (AKA Dr. Seuss), the two published their first Berenstain Bears book in 1962. Since then, more than 260 million books chronicling the 300 or so adventures of Mama, Papa, Sister, Brother, and, in later years, Honey Bear have been printed in 23 languages. Stan and Jan stopped creating books together after Stan’s death in 2005, which explains the recent shift in subject matter from such topics as The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Commercials to the new, more religious themes like The Berenstain Bears Say Their Prayers.
The Berenstains positively affected the childhoods of millions and as Jezebel’s Erin Gloria Ryan says, “Here’s hoping that wherever they are, it’s in a big tree house down a sunny dirt road.” And hey. If you’re having difficulty with Jan’s passing, why not pull out your old copy of The Berenstain Bears Lose a Friend? Jan and Stan and their bears will help you through.