Berenstain Bears Co-Creator, Jan Berenstain, Dies

By Suzan Clarke

Feb 27, 2012 10:33pm

Jan Berenstain, the co-creator of the Berenstain Bears, a line of children’s books with fans across generations, has died.

Berenstain, a longtime resident of Solebury in southeastern Pennsylvania, suffered a severe stroke on Thursday and died Friday without regaining consciousness, her son Mike Berenstain said.

She was 88.

She and her husband Stan, whom she met in art school in 1941, wrote and illustrated the popular stories featuring Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Brother Bear and Sister Bear. The tales were inspired by the Berenstain children — and later their grandchildren — and addressed children’s common concerns. The books offered guidance on subjects including dentist visits, peer pressure, a new sibling,  summer camp and much more.

The first Berenstain Bears book, “The Big Honey Hunt,” was published in 1962.  More than 300 titles in 23 languages have been released since then.

Hundreds of millions of copies have been sold, and the books were spun off into televised network specials and daily shows on PBS.

Amusement parks have featured Berenstain Bear Country attractions, children’s museums have displayed Berenstain Bear exhibits, and there have been four stage productions based on the characters in the books.

Stan Berenstain died of lymphoma in 2005. He was 82.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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