Sunday, July 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Jan Berenstain - July 26

Happy Birthday Jan Berenstain - Born July 26, 1923

In celebration of Jan Berenstain's birthday I compiled a list of 10 Things I Didn't Know about Jan Berenstain and the Berenstain Bears:

1.  Stan and Jan Berenstain met in their first class at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art in 1941 and later married in 1946.   They were successful cartoonists and wrote numerous books for adults together before entering the children's books market. (berenstainbears.com)

2. The first Berenstain Bear book, The Big Honey Hunt, was published in 1962 by Beginner Books with the help of their editor, Dr. Seuss. (Scholastic)

3. Dr. Seuss coined the name "Berenstain Bears" for Stan and Jan's second children's book, The Bike Lesson by putting on the cover, Another Adventure of the Berenstain Bears. (Scholastic/Amazon)

4. Mama Bear is 27 years old. Papa Bear is 29. Sister Bear is in first grade. Brother is in third grade. They will never get any older. (Scholastic)

5. Dr. Seuss was initially lukewarm on the idea of the Berenstain Bears becoming a series because there were so many stories about bears. He gave Stan and Jan a month to try something else.  They came up with a story about a penguin writing in a diary.  However, Dr. Seuss had changed his mind by the time he met with Stan and Jan to discuss the penguin idea, because sales were so robust with the bear books. (Scholastic)

6.  Stan and Jan Berenstain both wrote and illustrated their books before Stan passed away in 2005.  The stories were written together.  Stan usually did the rough sketch and Jan did the final drawings.  Both of them did the coloring. (Scholastic)

6. Mama Bear and Papa Bear had their third baby in 2000 with the book The Berenstain Bears and Baby Makes Five.  She was named Honey through a contest that asked readers for ideas. (Scholastic/amazon)

7. There is a christian series of Berenstain Bears called Living Lights published by Zonderkidz. Mike Berenstain, son of Stan and Jan, does the writing for the books with Jan's input. (About.com 2010)

8. There is a planned full-feature Berenstain Bears movie with animation and live action scheduled for 2011 from 21 Laps and producer Shawn Levy for Fox/Walden. (About.com 2010)

9.  Over 300 Berenstain Bear books have sold around 260 million copies since 1962. Two hundred titles are still in print. (berenstainbears.com)

10. Jan Berenstain is still involved with the latest Berenstain Bear books with her son Mike, including the lastest, The Berenstain Bears and the Gift of Courage and new books are scheduled for release in January 2011. (Zonderkidz)

Links:

1. Berenstain Bears - Official Website,  Activities
2. Berenstain Bears Treehouse Website - Artwork
3. PBS Kids Berenstain Bears Website with Games, etc.
4. RandomHouse Berenstain Bears - Activity Page
5. Berenstain Bears Live - Website, Study Guide  (September 2010 - June 2011) - East Coast
6. Strong National Museum of Play - Rochester, NY - Berenstain Bears Exhibit
7. Text Interview - Scholastic
8. 2007 Text Intervew - About.com, Children's Books • 2010 Text Interview - About.com
9. Streaming Berenstain Bears Videos - Sprout Online
10. Great Video about Stan and Jan Berenstain - Video 
11. Jan Berestain Dies at 88 - NY Times

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