The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree

The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree


Book: The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree

Authors and Illustrators: Stan and Jan Berenstain 

Publisher: Bright and Early Books, republished in 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0394839103 (Hardcover)

ISBN-10: 0394839102 (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 978-0001712843 (Paperback)

ISBN-10: 0001712845 (Paperback)

Language level: 1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Reading level: Ages 4 and up

Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Any books donated for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

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     Berenstain, Stan and Jan.  The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree (originally published in 1978 by Random House Books for Young Readers).   Three young bears head out with a light, a stick, and a rope to explore the inside of a spooky old tree.  After meeting up with an alligator, a huge spider, and Great Sleeping Bear, they all get the shivers and go up a ladder, through the floor, down a slide, and out a door, running fast to get “Home again, safe at last.”  This book is one of the simpler Berenstain Bears books.  It was chosen for The 20th Century Children’s Book Treasury edited by Janet Schulman.  The Berenstain Bears were initially introduced in The Big Honey Hunt, and they got their own series in The Berenstain Bears and the New Baby.

     These include the single story First Time Books for beginning readers, our favorite of which is The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Birthday, the Berenstain Bears Cub Club books for young readers, and a whole set of The Berenstain Bear Scouts chapter books for older readers, such as The Berenstain Bear Scouts Meet Bigpaw.  Some are better than others.  My main objection is that in many, though not all, of them, Papa Bear, who should be a respected authority figure, is often made out to be a rather bumbling and clumsy fool.   However, The Spooky Old Tree has none of that.  It is simply a fun story for children to read which shows that there are both some things of which we don’t need to be scared and some areas in which we do need to be very cautious.

     Authors Stan and Jan Berenstain were both born in 1923 in Philadelphia, PA, and didn’t know each other as children, but met later in school, at the Philadelphia College of Art.  When World War II was over, they got married and began to work together as artists and writers, primarily drawing cartoons for popular magazines.  After having their two sons, Leo and Michael, the Berenstains decided to write some funny children’s books that their children and other children could read and enjoy.  Since their inception, the Berenstain Bears stories have expanded to include a hit television show on PBS and even child-friendly computer games.  Mike joined with his parents as a creative team in the late 1980s.  Even though Stan died in 2005 and Jan in 2012, Mike continues to create new Berenstain Bears adventures.

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