It's no secret that we greatly enjoy The Berenstain Bears here in the Our Everyday Harvest household, and for good reason, too. This Bear Family has been around for generations and generations. They offer wholesome family-friendly stories that I loved reading when I was just a little girl and now my son equally enjoys them, as well.
Just recently we got our hands on the newest treasure from these fun-loving characters, The Berenstain Bears Friendship Blessings Collection. Not only does this include one story, but five separate stories all in one precious hardcover book.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Stan and Jan Berenstain introduced the first Berenstain Bear books in 1962. Mike Berenstain grew up watching his parents work together to write about and draw these lovable bears. Eventually he started drawing and writing about them too. Though Stan died in 2005, and Jan in 2012, Mike continues to create the delightful Bear adventures from his studio in Pennsylvania, in an area that looks much like the sunny dirt road deep in Bear Country.
Each story in the Friendship Blessings Collection is also part of the Living Lights series that strives to offer positive morals and values to children. Not only does every story include an important life lesson to learn, but at the end of each one you'll find a series of activities and questions. The questions allow families to discuss what was just read, as well as other real life circumstances and how they relate. The activities offer several hands-on ideas that allow for further reflection on the story.
The Collection Includes:
- The Perfect Fishing Spot
- Reap the Harvest
- Faithful Friends
- Kindness Counts
- God Made You Special
The Perfect Fishing Spot: Paper Bear is on a mission to find the perfect fish, even though Mama Bear suggests something a little less time consuming. When things don't go according to plan, Papa soon realizes that Mama Bear may have had the right idea after all.
Reap the Harvest: This one is a special story about God's timing and hard work. It actually reminds me of a scripture verse that I'm personally very fond of from Galatians 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Brother and Sister Bear take a job on the farm and soon realize that it involves a lot of hard work, more than they originally thought, but in due time they will reap the benefits of their labor.
Faithful Friends: Sister Bear makes a new friend. Meanwhile her lifelong bestfriend becomes a little jealous. This story teaches a valuable lesson on the importance of friendship, both new ones and those that have always been there.
While we enjoyed all five stories from the collection, the last two stories in the book were our favorites:
Kindness Counts: Brother Bear has worked hard on his prize model airplane, so when a younger cub wants to learn how to fly it, he is a little hesitate to show him. Brother decides to allow him to try, remembering how his Papa showed him when he was just a little cub. Later on, he learns that his kindness to this little cub will pay off in more ways that he originally thought it would. We really liked the moral to this story and it's one that you would often see in real life.
God Made You Special: This is a treasure of a story that touches up on being kind and accepting to others who may seem different than you. When Brother and Sister Bear meet a little boy named Tommy at a family barbecue, they soon realize that he's a little different than the other kids they know. It's not necessarily mentioned as to why the child is different, but I got the impression that he may be autistic. I think it's so important for children (and even adults!) to read stories like this, so they can learn how to be accepting of those who may be different than them. I also love that the story touches up on how God has a special plan for each of His children, no matter what their circumstances may be. He loves us each of us just the way we are.
Our home library has no shortage of good reads from The Berenstain Bears family and the Friendship Blessings Collection is a fantastic one to add to our collection. The stories are full of wholesome principals and values that would be a blessing for every child to learn.
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