The Berenstain Bears

 
Kids are welcome in bear country.

What parents need to know

Educational value

No specifically educational content, but lots of clear social lessons about sharing, manners, rules, etc.

Positive messages

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.

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.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while Brother and Sister Bear are 10 and 8, respectively, and the show 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.

What's the story?

THE BERENSTAIN BEARS, based on the best-selling children's book series by Jan and Stan Berenstain, is geared around learning experiences and straightforward, literal lessons. Mama, Papa, Sister, and Brother live in a tree house, but otherwise live and act like humans.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

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 show 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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the lessons learned in each episode. How do Brother and Sister Bear learn from their mistakes? How is your family like the Bear family? How is it different?

TV details

Cast:Camilla Scott, Michael Cera, Tajja Isen
Network:PBS
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Book characters, Wild animals
TV rating:TV-Y
Available on:DVD

This review of The Berenstain Bears was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

very good

this a good show but its annoying the way mama always wear a night gown and the worst part is that papa is a fool who learns from the cubs witch is just not right other than that the show is very good exept all the giggling ahh!
Teen, 15 years old Written bykatcar12 March 14, 2012
age 2+
 

AMAZING SHOW!!!

AMAZING SHOW!!! It is very educational and has great messages. How does it only have 3 stars? It teaches kids about stranger danger, and counting their blessings, and to be responsible! I could go on and on but it would take me all day long! I recommend this to parents! Don't let your kids watch garbage, this is what they should watch!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byCartoonaholic_C... April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

Sister Bear's Voice...

Sister Bear's Voice-it's Taiji Isen (A.K.A. the voice of Atomic Betty)! Weird, very weird. HOLY CANNOLI!!!

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