September 29, 1923
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July 26, 1923
Stanley "Stan" Berenstain (September 29, 1923 – November 26, 2005) was born in a neighborhood of west Philadelphia and died of cancer in Solebury Township, Pennsylvania. Janice "Jan" Berenstain (née Grant) (born July 26, 1923) was born in Philadelphia and was raised in west Philadelphia and attended Radnor High School. They met on their first day of class at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art in 1941 and married five years later, on April 13, 1946. They had two sons, Leo and Mike.
In an interview about the books, the Berenstains said that a big reason behind their inspiration was some of the difficulties parents faced, as well as some childhood tribulations when they were kids themselves. Their books evolved to include items such as cell phones and video game systems in the fictional Bear Country, which were nonexistent or very limited when the books were first published. The Berenstains also noted there were some issues which seemed to appear in every generation, such as kids throwing tantrums in public places, which made important subject matter for their stories. However, they deliberately wanted to steer clear of overly heavy issues such as violence.
In 1951, they published Berenstains' Baby Book, which dealt with the topics of pregnancy and raising a young child. Although containing practical advice, the book used humor and reminded parents not to take every situation too seriously.
They produced together the magazine cartoon feature It's All in the Family from 1956 to 1989 in McCall's and Good Housekeeping. They published their first book featuring the Berenstain Bears in 1962 and with the help of then-head of Beginner Books at Random House Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) created a lasting franchise including many more books, television series, toys, and stage productions. Jan was inducted into Radnor High School's Hall of Fame on October 20, 2006.
The Berenstains' cartoon feature It's All in the Family (unrelated to the similarly named TV series) appeared regularly in McCall's magazine and depicted the antics of a suburban family with mother, father, eldest and youngest sons, and middle daughter. It's All in the Family was not a conventional comic strip in the sense of a sequential progression of panels. Each issue featured a single situation, often seasonally appropriate, such as the daughter preparing, cooking, and serving a family meal for the first time or the costume preparations, rehearsal, and performance of the youngest child's Christmas pageant. Within a given issue, each It's All in the Family drawing was a stand-alone panel with a caption gag, rather than one panel of a sequential strip, but individual panels in order depicted the complete arc (preparation, completion, aftermath) of that issue's family experience.
Stan and Jan Berenstain's younger son Michael Berenstain (born in 1951) is a writer/illustrator and also illustrated many of the books written by his parents. He continues to work with his mother on new projects.
- See also List of The Berenstain Bears books (over 260)
- The Berenstains’ Baby Book (1951, MacMillan)
- Sister (1952, Schuman cartoons)
- Tax-Wise (1952, Schuman)
- Marital Blitz (1954, Dutton)
- Baby Makes Four (1956, MacMillan)
- It’s All in the Family (1958, Dutton)
- Lover Boy (1958, MacMillan)
- And Beat Him When He Sneezes (1960, McGraw Hill)
- Have a Baby, My Wife Just Had a Cigar (1960, Dell, retitled reprint)
- Bedside Lover Boy (1960, Dell)
- Call Me Mrs. (1961, MacMillan)
- It’s Still in the Family (1961, Dutton)
- Office Lover Boy (1962, Dell)
- The Facts of Life for Grown-ups (1963, Dell)
- Flipsville-Squareville (1965, Delacorte)
- Mr. Dirty vs. Mrs. Clean (1967, Dell)
- You Could Diet Laughing (1969, Dell)
- Be Good or I’ll Belt Ya! (1970, Dell)
- Education Impossible (1970, Dell)
- How to Teach Your Children about Sex without Making a Complete Fool of Yourself (1970, Dutton)
- Never Trust Anyone Over 13 (1970, Bantam)
- How to Teach Your Children about God without Actually Scaring Them out of Their Wits (1971, Dutton)
- Are Parents for Real? (1972, Bantam)
- The Day of the Dinosaur (1987, Random House, First Time Readers)
- After the Dinosaurs (1988, Random House, First Time Readers)
- What Your Parents Never Told You about Being a Mom or Dad (1995) parenting advice
- Down A Sunny Dirt Road (2002) autobiography
- The Berenstain Bears and The Bear Essentials (2005) parenting advice
- The Official Berenstain Bears Website
- The Berenstain Bears Tree House (News, Galleries, Store, History, and the Stan Berenstain Foundation)
- Stan and Jan Berenstain Papers 1954-1965 at Syracuse University (primary source material for several books and Sister)