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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Arts & Crafts › Books, Music, and Media › Berenstain Bear (and other "morality" books for kids)
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Berenstain Bear (and other "morality" books for kids)

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Is anyone else really annoyed by books of this genre? (The Berenstain Bears and too much junk food...too much TV...learn to say sorry...learn about sharing...etc. etc. etc. etc.) They make me gag! (Not just the B.Bears - the whole lot of "values" books.) The idea that you teach values to kids by reading them a book bothers me, in the first place, but the books themselves are so boring and annoying! We don't have any, but occasionally they are the only thing to read in a waiting room and I haven't had an alternative. Yuck!

Reading a real, good book is such an awesome experience. It saddens me that anyone is wasting time reading this stuff to their kids when they could be reading a good book!

(By the way, I do like the Franklin the turtle books, even though I was uneasy when I read titles like "Franklin Fibs" and "Franklin is Messy". I guess the difference in my mind is that the Franklin books are good stories - regardless of any message in the story. The others exist only to transmit a lesson.)

Just my opinion - but I seem to feel strongly about it!
post #2 of 24
I understand what you are saying. I'm not too bothered by them. I think it only becomes a problem if that's the only way you try and teach your child any kind of moral values, and if those are the only kinds of books you have in your home for your children to read. But if there is enough variety, I find they can be good to have right there next to the Dr. Suess books, fairy tale books, cultural books, etc. Just as long as there is a wide array of books to choose from.

Edited to add: of course our book collection caters more to our 3 year old and 11 month old so we haven't moved onto the more elaborate stories yet. Once we did, I'm sure the Bears will be out of the picture.
post #3 of 24
I know that their (the BB's) book on "strangers" really pissed me off. Ugh.
post #4 of 24
I hear you on that nutrition book. I think pointing out which foods are healthy and which are not is fine, but for a mother to tell her children they are getting fat? That sounds like starting the road to a life of poor body image. I threw it away after we read it once.

The books kind of come across as a little judgemental, kwim?
post #5 of 24
They are annoying and boring too! Our kids liked Franklin for awhile but always preferred the older books to the newer ones. The art work in the original books was really nice, these days it is just TV looking cartoons : I found the early stories sweet and the moral lesson wasn't so blatant.

I cannot stand the Berenstein Bears. I don't like the messages they contain and they aren't much fun to read. When my kids were toddlers we had "morality lessons" in every day life. Now we are reading books like the Little Princess and narnia and so many other good books and the "morality lessons" come up naturally in their own reflections on the story.
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
I haven't even picked up the new Franklin books. I was guessing from the covers that they would be quasi-stories lifted from the TV shows, and I knew I'd be so disappointed and have to rant about wonderful books being turned into mediocre (or worse) TV shows. Thanks for confirming that and sparing me a rant, Shantimama!
post #7 of 24
Oh, I am so in agreement with you! the BB books irritate teh crap out of me!
post #8 of 24
BB books are dull, dull, dull. My mother always refused to have them in the house with me (yes, they were around then, too).

But, all stories that are any good do have some "values" stuff in them. It is just that it doesn't necessarily hit you over the head with a baseball bat (even though some come close -- A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett comes to mind, even though I loved that book.)
post #9 of 24
This may be a slightly different twist on this, but what bothers me is that everyone has to screw up first and then learn their lesson. Why can't books have characters that are nice, good, share, whatever from the beginning? Why do they always tease and lose all their friend to learn it's wrong? Why do they break something and lie before they learn they should admit when they do something wrong?

It's just that 90% of the story is always the bad/wrong stuff and then and the last page out comes some great lesson. Not very much time to absorb the good. Anyone kwim?
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Good point, BoobyJuice!!
post #11 of 24
I am laughing to see this because just last week I was on a huge rant at work about the Berenstain Bears. UGH!! I was reading a good night board book to my wee one and had to skip over words!!! Toy soldiers stop shooting (I SWEAR it was that bad!), mom and dad are happy that the kids are off to bed. WTF??!! I rarely change words, but that was too much.

Slightly OT--last week on Caillou there was poor, big-headed Caillou scared to sleep alone WITH THE DOOR SHUT. And mom and dad kept telling him he'd be fine...blah blah blah. In the morning--he was SO PROUD!! My little one couldn't understand why he was scared...I said he DOESN'T WANT TO BE ALONE! She understood that...poor Caillou.
post #12 of 24
I have never read a BB book to my kiddo, and hope he never asks me to. We spend a lot of time just browsing in bookstores (and about 3 days a week we are in the library for something or other) and he has never showed any interest in the stuff. I have decided that I don't like the Franklin books too. It just seems too commercial to me.
post #13 of 24
Wow, I've haven't read a BB book in decades but I LOVED them when I was little. I think we had every title. I actually bought a couple for DS from the neighbors' garage sale.

post #14 of 24
I'm LOL because my parents have a huge collection of BB books that they bought for us kids when we were growing up. Not my favorite, to say the least.

But apparently DS likes them so much that he not only asks to read the books at grandma & grandpa's house, but he also begs to watch the cartoon on PBS (I'm kicking myself for turning the TV back on after tuning out for a month!). Figures
post #15 of 24
Ah, grandparents. They mean well, but . . . The only BB book we ahve is one of mine that my mother gave my son. Luckily it's isn't that obnoxious. It's about them going up in space. My son had me read it about 6 times in 2 days and hasn't asked for it since.

Our problem around here are all the other horrible books. Around here Thomas the Tank Engine is the worst. Every character is rude, bossy, condescendingor likes to tease. Or books like How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? It's a really cute book my son loves, but it's almost 20 pages of dinosuars don't do at bedtime and a few pages of what they do. I'ts "Does a dinosaur slam his tail and pout? Does he throw his teddy bear all about?" etc. The last few pages is finally "No, they don't. They don't even try. They give a big kiss. They turn out the light. They tuck in their tails. They whisper, 'Good Night!'" After most the story is about dinosaurs throwing tantrums - complete with illustrations - because they don't want to go to bed, it drives me crazy that it ends on the simple "No they dont". Now my son thinks they do all of this before going to bed, so when he's acting horrible his answer is that he's a dino.

OK long and rambly, but just saying it drives me crazy with kids books. After almost finishing these books where someone always seems to be behaving poorly, it's like 'ooops that was wrong' on the last page. My son seems to absorb the 20 minutes of bad stuff more than the 30 second "ooops"
post #16 of 24
Originally Posted by annethcz
...(I'm kicking myself for turning the TV back on after tuning out for a month!). Figures

See what happens?!!

Yours, the TV Vigilante
post #17 of 24
Some of the BB books I don't mind. My ds likes the ones we have. Before I get one I read it and decided if the contents is ok for ds. For example I have Just me and My Mom and Just Me and My Dad. I will not get The New Baby and others that have stuff in it that I don't like. I just censor what we buy or borrow.
post #18 of 24
i find some of the books can mirror a situation or feelings that my dd is having

ie - mercer mayer does on one no one can play with me; i like the going to the dentist ones to help with what to expect; stage fright we found after dd's first stage experience and it actually reflected what her experience had been

i tend to pick and choose them
post #19 of 24
Originally Posted by sntm
Wow, I've haven't read a BB book in decades but I LOVED them when I was little. I think we had every title. I actually bought a couple for DS from the neighbors' garage sale.

Glad, I'm not the only one that loved them as a child. I bought a few used ones for DS but haven't read them to him yet, as he is only 18 months old. Maybe I will drag them out and reevaluate. :
post #20 of 24
I can't stand any of these books either, or their corresponding TV shows.

My biggest complaint is that they're dull and badly written. If kids are exposed almost exclusively to books like this, they'll think reading is dull. And many other picture books these days, even if they're not the BB type, are really bad. I ranted about them here a couple of months ago.

We skip the picture books altogether and go straight to the fairy tales, which are shelved in non-fiction.

And those Mercer Mayer books: "Me and My ______" Can someone tell me why the mother is always dressed in a long dress as if it's Victorian times, and yet the father and son are dressed in modern clothes? That bugs me. People give us these books sometimes and I usually just take them to the recycling center.

The "Clifford" books are awful too.
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