Book: The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree

The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree
Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain
1978

This book is one of the classic “Bright and Early Books for Beginning Beginners”. It uses several of the very familiar Berenstain Bears characters, although they are not named in the book (names are harder for beginning readers). The story is simple and repetitive and the pictures not only have clues to the text but also expand the story beyond the words. The layout is dynamic but very easy to follow so that it will hold the interest of preschool readers without confusing them. This is one of the best examples of this series that I have seen.

The story is very simple and basic. The little bears go into the spooky tree and have adventures. Eventually, they lose all of their equipment and get the shivers. It is scary, but they are able to run home to safety at the end. The illustrations are in muted colours, which is very appropriate to the spooky tone of the story. I love the familiar Berenstain Bear style with its curvy lines and adorable characters. The illustrations add a lot to this book. They are safe and comfortable – as scary as the story may get, you know nothing truly awful could happen to Brother and Sister Bear. I also like the added details to the story throughout. The crocodile and the falling axe add a lot to the story, but never get mentioned in the text. The whole book is exceptionally well done.

I definitely recommend this book. It is a cute, spooky story with fantastic illustrations and a superb design. This would be a perfect book to give to preschoolers as very beginning reading material. The story definitely sticks with you (Michael remembered it from when he read it as a kid). I highly recommend this book. It is a wonderful addition to any collection!

Publisher’s Description
Official Berenstain Bears Website
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