Top critical review
29 people found this helpful
Fails to make its point
on April 5, 2014
I'm sorry to say that the Bear family just hasn't been the same since Stan passed away. I ordered this book because this is a lesson my 8 year old needs to be reminded of lately, and the Bear books often motivate him to make better choices (I'm going to watch less TV, eat less junk food, make a chore list!) They teach a moral through a fun story, but are also very direct and clear in their message. This story fails to do that.
The bear family, with Gran and Gramps, are looking for the perfect picnic spot.
It gives examples of disrespect ranging from mild (interupting, not listening) to really mild ( practically stating an opinion/disagreeing.)
Example: Mama Bear suggests they go to the nice spot by the pond where she and papa had their first date. Brother says "That was an awful long time ago. It's full of mosquitos now. Let's find a better spot." And it IS full of mosquitos. Still, Mama is "none too pleased" with Brother Bears act of disrespect.
Gramps calls them out on their disrespect. They are sorry. The end.
1. Many of the examples of "disrespect" weren't relevant to my family or didn't really exemplify disrespectful behavior, at least not the kind i'm trying to address. (Above.) And the story never really explained WHY these behaviors were disrespectful, so I had to fill in with a lot of discussion. Like in the example above, I explained that Brother could have noted that there were a lot of mosquitos and then ASKED if they could keep looking.
2. Because of these stated opinions being used as illustrations of disrespect, this book almost gives a feeling of "children should be seen and not heard." It doesn't say that, but if disagreeing with a parent over a picnic spot (even with good reason) is disrespect, then it just kind of feels that way. Now, if Brother had proceeded to argue, whine, cry, and yell (as MY little cub has been known to do)...
3. Some of the examples were more obvious, such as not listening (only once) or interupting. That was a good start.
4. The older Bear books would have done a good job of explaining the problem (disrespect) and solutions in a more concrete and developmentally appropriate way. This book just relies on bible quotes to illustrate the point. Gramps finally gets fed up and points out that they haven't been showing respect to their elders. (He never specifies why, so hopefully your kids already got that point.) They all think about it and agree. (Again, no further explanation as to what was disrespectful or why.) He reminds them that "Age should speak, advance years should teach wisdom....A wise son heeds his fathers instruction." Hmm. Okay.
5. The story itself wasn't as interesting as some of our other ones.
That said, I still was able to use it as a teaching tool, but i had to do a lot of work filling in the lines, so to speak. It at least got a conversation going. It's not so bad that i won't ever read it to them again.