The Berenstain Bears Go Green
written by Jan & Mike Berenstain
published by HarperFestival, 2013
Did I enjoy this book: We picked this book up from the library. Berenstain Bear books are usually a safe bet, but this book was not usual. One of the things I love about Berenstain Bear books is that they generally teach an important social lesson that relates to young children. This lesson is delivered in an entertaining way that draws readers into the world of Bear Country.
Go Green did not accomplish this. Most of the story talks about the city dump leaking oil into the creek and a town meeting where adults plan to rectify the problem. The cubs, who are usually the vehicle by which the important lesson is learned, are completely peripheral to the main action of the story. This leaves the young readers without characters to relate to. Further, children are not generally found attending town hall meetings or helping clean up toxic waste at city dumps. Is the message suppose to be that only adults can “Go Green?”
There are so many ways children can help the environment, and Go Green manages to mention a couple of them as an afterthought on the second to last page of the story. Perhaps it’s the fact that this book was co-written by the Berenstain’s son Mike and I don’t like his style, but I feel that there is a much better way to deliver this message.
The story and characters are flat and I felt no emotional connection to them. My son was totally uninterested . . . and here I thought 3-year-olds were suppose to be riveted by the description of town hall meetings . . .
Come on Berenstains . . . I expect more from you than this! Tell us more about how KIDS can help take care of the environment. Talk about HOW to recycle instead of just mentioning it. Show the cubs initiating a town trash pickup event. Explain what composting is and how it works instead of just throwing the topic out there and then dropping it.
Would I recommend it: Nope. Not even a little. After our initial read, my child never asked me to read it again, which is slightly unheard of if you know my kid, so I’d stay steer clear of this Berenstain Bear book.
About the book – from Goodreads: The Berenstain Bears continue their storybook adventures in this 8×8 about reusing and recycling.
The Berenstain Bears live in a wonderful place filled with green grass, blue skies, and lots of furry friends. But on a fishing trip at the creek, the Bear family discovers that the town dump is overflowing! Can the Berenstain Bears find a pollution solution before their beloved Bear Country is filled with garbage?