Sunday, January 27, 2013

Reviews: More from Bear Country

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The Berenstain Bears Bear Country Blessings is the newest set of books in the Living Lights series by mother-son team of Jan and Mike Berenstain.  This set includes the stories:  God Bless Our Home, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and Get Involved

All Things Bright and Beautiful focuses on the song by the same name. Sunday School teacher Missus Ursula takes her students on a nature walk. The sibling bears wonder what a nature walk has to do with Sunday School. They soon learn, through the verses in the song, that God is throughout nature. Of course it helps if the reader can sing the song throughout the book but it is not necessary.

My favorite part of this book is how Missus Ursula demonstrated that learning doesn't just occur around a table with a pencil. She took the child out and made the learning personal and lasting. Perfect!

One of the suggestions in the All Things Bright and Beautiful book is to make a Nature Poster which is an idea already used in the ABCJLM curriculum.

The Berenstain Bears Get Involved is a story about the Bear family getting involved during a flood to help out the community.

In God Bless Our Home, the reader learns how the bear family moved into their treehouse home. Through time, they have outgrown the space and need more. Brother and Sister Bear love their home and protest at the thought of moving. As a family, they come up with a solution and work together to fix the problem. 

I love any depiction of a family united together to solve a problem and where work is being done as a team. This is exactly what this book shows. But as with several of the books that I have reviewed in the Living Lights series, I believe this book set up a great plot but missed the finish line. First in the title. Even after reading the book, our kiddos still did not understand what it means for God to bless their family. Secondly, the plot set up an excellent situation to discuss how we accumulate so much stuff. Instead of giving away these things, the family moved them to another location.  I encourage the adult to bring out other options. 
The Berenstain Bears, God Made the Colors
The bear cubs love colors and look for them where ever they go.  They even mix the primary colors to create more colors.  This would be a good book to add to a unit on colors. 

FYI:  Depending on your opinion of wine, this book does use "the color of feet that make grape wine" as the example for purple. 

The Berenstain Bears: Thank God for Good Health
 The bear cubs visit the doctor for their annual physical.  They both get a shot but realize that it isn't bad and is to keep them healthy.  In the end, Papa Bear is told that he needs to lose weight as he is not in good health.

The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Things (stickers included with the book)
The bear cubs want stuff and more stuff.  After visiting the local mall, the parents realize that they have a problem with the cubs being greedy.  Mama Bear finds a Bible storybook and explains to the cubs what King Solomon said about the flowers of the field.  Correlating the lesson of the story and the plot set-up was a stretch. I do not feel it would be easily grasped by a young child and the lesson is never explained in the story.

Thank you to Zonderkidz for allowing me to review these books.

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The Our Out-of-Sync Life blog focuses on encouraging women to deepen their spiritual life, simplify daily tasks, and impress Jesus on the children around them.