A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
No specifically educational content, but lots of clear social lessons about sharing, manners, rules, etc.
Stories always have a recognizable theme with strong values, reflecting family ties, friendship, helpfulness, generosity, manners, and so on. Traditional gender roles are on display within the Bear family home (Mama tends to the house while Papa works, etc.), but some stories make a point to cross those, as when Mama started a quilting business or Papa took over the chores while Mama was sick. Gratitude is a major theme.
Positive Role Models
Mama and Papa are always ready to help kids make thoughtful decisions that reflect the family's values. They encourage their kids to work hard, obey the rules, and engage in healthy activities and friendships. Brother and Sister don't always get things right on the first try, but they recognize their mistakes and do what they can to make things right.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while Brother and Sister Bear are 10 and 8, respectively, and The Berenstain Bears revolves around their school-age experiences, the series' tone and pace may only appeal to much younger kids. Whatever their ages, if your kids enjoy the show, by all means introduce them to the books, which are easy to find at libraries and bookstores.
Is It Any Good?
The TV show succeeds in capturing the books' fun-loving spirit. Delightful character and scene animation makes bear country a charming place to hang out, even if the books' subtle wit doesn't quite come through on the screen. At first glance, The Berenstain Bears seems to take "traditional family values" to the extreme. Mama wears a housecoat, gardens, and quilts, while Papa wears overalls, fishes, and eats too much of Ma's great country cooking.
Some viewers, even kids, might get annoyed at these unimaginative portrayals, but now and again the show branches out. Ma turned her quilting skills into a business, and one episode featured Sister going out for baseball and doing better than her big brother. Brother had to learn to accept the fact that Sister was just as talented as he was. The series doesn't ignore sibling rivalry, but for the most part paints the siblings as loving and supportive of one another.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.