At the dog kennels where I work, they make the dogs listen to NPR while hanging out in their temporary homes away from home. This is probably somewhat insightful for them, but very insightful to me. Sure I would rather be listening to Pitbull or Brad Paisley, but the mellow voices of the NPR gang make me feel sophisticated, and a feeling of sophistication is rare when your job consists of. . . uh. . . cleaning up. . .____. . .from dog kennels. . . and uh. . . stuff. Needless to say, I grab hold of sophistication and hold her near whenever she is gracious enough to come see me at work.
It was via NPR that I first learned of Jan Berenstain’s death. Tragic! I almost fell off my ladder. First, it had never occurred to me that there was an actual lady named Berenstain who wrote the books. I just always assumed, much like the Hardy Boys series, that the books had been around since the beginning of time, and that at this point nobody was really sure who wrote them.
That is a sign of growing old. Old people realize stuff does not just appear and that there is a process behind everything. Young people just think everything appears out of nowhere. I am somewhere in between these two trains of thought.
When I think of my dream house, I still think of the Berenstain Bear’s big tree house. I know exactly where all of my Berenstain Bears books are located in my house (not a tree house, not yet anyways!).
There will never be another Jan Berenstain. We are too caught up in sorcery and aliens for there to ever be another Jan Berenstain. Here are my top five books (book series) from my childhood. I am sure many of you can relate.
1. Berenstain Bears– Probably not normally would the loveable cute Bears be my #1, but in light of the death of their creator, I would feel bad otherwise.
2. Hardy Boys– Probably my real #1. (Nancy Drew for you girls out there!)
3. The Hatchet- I own probably 4 hatchets. I blame 3 of them on this book. I also blame the dead, half chopped trees in my old backyard on this book.
4. Goosebumps– I follow R.L. Stine on Twitter. He Tweets a lot.
5. Clifford the Big Red Dog– Brother Bear would want Mama Bear to get him a big huggable dog like Clifford. After Brother Bear forgot to feed and bathe Clifford, we would all learn a lesson on responsibility. It is a shame their paths never crossed, at least not that I know of anyways.
Honorable Mention: The Boxcar Children– Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Bennie get into trouble and solve mysteries. Written by a 1st grade teacher in the 40s. What is interesting is that people are still writing these books except based in modern day. That makes me sad. Is nothing sacred?
Also, did y’all have the Scholastic Book Fair at your school? Did you beg your mom to buy you the magic trick kit every year? Are you a magician? Do you still have your puppy poster/calendar? Did you too always think Mr. Moses the janitor was the guy wearing the Franklin the Turtle suit?
Also, one more thing, can we all agree that the award for the most awesome tree house in the history of tree houses goes to. . .
1. The Sandlot-
Ham Porter: Hey, you want a s’more? Smalls: Some more of what? Ham Porter: No, do you want a s’more? Smalls: I haven’t had anything yet… so how can I have some more of nothing? Ham Porter: You’re killing me, Smalls!
-Ross Hoss Bear
Jan Berenstain creating something beautiful.