Berenstain Bears Creator Dies: Jan Berenstain Dies At 88

Mike Berenstain and Jan Berenstain
(Credit: toledoblade.com)
Mike Berenstain and Jan Berenstain
(Credit: toledoblade.com)

Jan Berenstain is known for writing and illustrating the Berenstain Bears books with her husband Stan. The writer who entertained preschoolers and their parents for almost 50 years has died, she was 88.

Berenstain who was from Solebury in southeastern Pennsylvania, suffered a severe stroke on Thursday. She died on Friday after she was unable to regain consciousness, according to her son Mike Berenstain.

The characters that we have grown to love, Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Brother Bear and Sister Bear were first inspired by Stan and Jan’s children, and later Stan and Jan were inspired by their grandchildren.

“The Big Honey Hunt” was the first Berenstain Bear book the couple wrote. It was published in 1962. The books have been written in twenty-three different languages and released 300 titles.

“They say jokes don’t travel well, but family humor does,” Jan Berenstain said to The Associated Press in 2011. “Family values is what we’re all about.”

Stan and Jan Berenstain met on their first day of art school when they were only eighteen-years-old.

The authors continued to create books until Stan Berenstain’s death in 2005 when he was 82-years-old.

“It’s wonderful to do something you love for so many years,” Jan Berenstain told the AP in 2011. “Not everyone has that.”

Mike Berenstain, who is a writer and illustrator like his late parents, said his mother would work on her books every day at her home in Bucks County, north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He said the idyllic setting made for a fantastic source of inspiration for her writing.

Mike Berenstain plans to continue writing and illustrating future Berenstain books.

He spoke about his mother, “Every day she was very productive. “She was working on two books and had been doing illustrations until the day before she passed away.”

Jan Berenstain left behind her two sons and four grandchildren.

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