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Movie Review

Berenstein Bears: Learn About Strangers

Reviewed by: Dale and Karen Mason
STAFF WRITERS

Good
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Ages 3-7
Genre:
Animation
Length:
23 min.
Year of Release:
1982

If your children enjoy the popular illustrated books about this family of bears by Stan and Jan Berenstein, they are sure to enjoy these videos as well. But be forewarned, Mom and Dad. With the books you could “edit” out or verbally change certain aspects to bettor mirror the values and beliefs that you are striving to instill. With the videos this is much harder to consistently do. The video version still contains those same “I wish they hadn’t said that” type elements, but there is no practical way to “fix” the message. This double-feature tape, for example, contains evolution-based statements in “Learn About Strangers,” and a crystal-ball reading clairvoyant (Grandma Bear) in “The Disappearing Honey.”

Additionally, the Papa Bear character gives poor advice, wrong information, and is emotional and illogical more often than not. He is the brunt of jokes rather than a good family leader. To their credit, the stories are fun and always have a good “moral” overall. In “Learn About Strangers,” Sister Bear is initially too friendly with complete strangers, but then becomes paranoid of them after a talk with Papa. In the end she sees better the need to be careful, but not to be unnecessarily afraid. Also includes a good definition of what a “tattle tale” is and is not. / In “The Disappearing Honey,” Papa Bear falsely accuses several townspeople of stealing his Boysenberry honey, only to find out later that it was he who “stole” the sweet treat during nightly sleepwalks.