Jan Berenstain, Co-Creator of the Berenstain Bears Series, Dies at 88

Jan Berenstain, who inspired Mama Bear and co-created the beloved Berenstain Bears book series, passed away from a stroke on February 24 at her home in Solebury, PA.  She was 88 years old.

Along with her husband, Stan, who passed away in 2005, the husband-and-wife team collaborated on writing and illustrating simple and sweet stories, with good family values and strong morals, for preschoolers.  Each book focused on a specific lesson, as experienced by human-like Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Brother Bear, and Sister Bear.  Their first book, “The Big Honey Hunt,” was published in 1962 by Random House under the guidance of children’s book editor Theodor Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss), who encouraged them to rhyme each story’s text.

There are now over 300 titles in the Berenstain Bears series, published by HarperCollins, that have sold more than 260 million copies worldwide, in 23 different languages.  In addition to books, the Berenstain Bears have been featured on TV cartoons and movies, toys, clothes, video games, and mobile apps.  There is even a show touring around the country, The Berenstain Bears Live! in Family Matters the Musical.

The Berenstain’s two sons, Leo and Mike (who helps illustrate the books), will continue the family business and 19 new titles will be released this year.

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