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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.
Summary:
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.

So-

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.
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on November 3, 2012
Some reviewers have criticized the Judeo-Christian underpinning of this book. I have no problem with that aspect of it. The problem for me is that the message is rather too subtle and abstract. The lack of respect presented in this book is when Brother and Sister take mild issue with their parents' choice of a picnic spot and Mama and Papa Bear take mild issue with Gramps and Gran's choice of a picnic spot. More power to the families for whom this, incredibly, constitutes disrespect, but that's not the case in mine, where we struggle with opposition, rudeness, and defiance on a much more overt basis every day. If you have a child who struggles with these things and who may or may not have a clinical diagnosis, don't waste your money on this book, because it's not meant for you.
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on November 4, 2012
I finally just read this book to my 2 and 5 year old after having it sit on the bookshelf for a month. I thought the message was great and that it teaches children (and adults) to show result towards each other and to their elders using biblical principles. I remember reading a review from someone on here that said something to the effects of "even down right biblical" and "preachy". Well, I guess if you don't believe in God, then this book isn't for you. But our family does and we love inviting God and His Word into our home, especially when teaching our children. The real Berenstains that wrote this series of books are Christians and many of their books principles are based on their beliefs. We love the series and I highly recommend!
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on February 23, 2013
I was honestly disappointed by this book. It doesn't really fit with what I would consider "disrespectful"...Brother, Sister, Papa are just stating opinions. I also don't like the fact that everyone has to submit to Gramps...kinda makes Papa out to be a kid himself when- in my opinion- the kids should be submitting to their parents first. Whatever, this is not the place for a discussion like this. I personally did not like it and would not have purchased it had I known what it was about (I bought it on my kindle).
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on March 17, 2013
This book could have been an excellent example of respecting those with more experience and knowledge of the world. Instead it puts down the knowledge of the world of those who are younger and may have more recent experience. The older bears talk about picnicking in places from their past: honeymoons etc, ie decades previous. And younger bears (whether it is Papa contradicting Grandpa, or Brother contradicting Papa) state that it may have been a nice place before, but now the facilities are old and dangerous, or the nice pond has become mosquito infested.

This is just giving an opinion, and information. Should they have said, "Oh yes, Papa, you know what you're talking about!", picnicked there, and then been eaten alive by mosquitos or gotten slivers in their butts from the rotten wooden benches?

Taking these as examples of respect, to disagree with incorrect assumptions based on outdated past experience, is just an invitation for those with up to date knowledge to keep quiet, to kowtow, to become "yes men" just because someone is older.

If the older bears had been poohpoohed as old and out of touch when something important needed to be done, by the younger bears, who then couldn't solve the problem. And then the older bears had stepped in and used their great knowledge, skills and wisdom gained through years of practice or experience, a real lesson would have been taught. Some things are only learned though experience and age, and should be respected and valued. We should not underestimate our elders.

In the end, Grandpa is supposedly the best picnic spot picker outer. So does he find an extraordinary, hard to find spot with a spectacular view, based on his years of Scouting experience, using a compass etc? No, he leads them to his own backyard. What does this teach children and young adults? That leaving decisions to the elders means staying in the backyard like a 2 yr old? Something that takes no knowledge, no skills, affords no adventure or exploration of the world? That you'll go nowhere if you follow the elders as leaders?

I really don't know what this book was trying to teach, but the supposed "disrespect" was not disrespectful (perhaps the "YUCK!" that brother whispers behind the back of Grandma about her stew, but that wasn't even addressed, just shrugged off). The supposed reasons for respecting our elders (surely it cannot just be age, since someone older may not have half the knowledge or experience of someone younger in years, and in fact may be completely clueless in this quickly changing world)... ie skills, wisdom etc... were not in evidence anywhere in the book. Or even respect for someone despite his lack of knowledge, ie respecting someone's limits.

A very disappointing book.

And ridiculous for those of us who were introduced to the Berenstain Bears through The Honey Hunt, The Bike Lesson and other original (excellent, funny, subtle, witty) titles, where the father was goofy, wrong, and the small son was much more reasonable, right, and didn't get himself into a pickle all the time, unlike his elder. This book is preachy and goes completely against their personalities.

Better to find a different book about respect. One where we respect all, we respect knowledge, wisdom, humanity, no matter who has it.
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on April 6, 2016
I'm so very sad that these books are so incredibly terrible now. I LOVED the Berenstain Bears growing up. They were obviously morality stories but they were awesome stories as well, and very cute. This book was just awful. I got it thinking I'd use it with my kids to help gently teach them respect. The book ONLY talks about respect to your elders, not to each other, not to your siblings. And it uses Bible verses to explain why--you don't respect people because it's the right thing to do, or because being respectful is kind. Nope, you do it because a Bible verse says you have to. I'm Christian, I have no problem using some Biblical teachings. But that's not the ONLY reason I think people should be respectful toward each other, and it's really not the message I want to send my kids.

The book was only $3 but I really hate that I even spent that much on this drivel. :( I'm going to see if I can get some of the old books from Goodwill or somewhere, they were so sweet and cute before whoever is writing them now ruined them :(
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on March 11, 2012
My granddaughter loved this little book so much she kept reading it over and over again. She is a new reader and had no difficulty with the words, giggled often, and wanted more eBooks like this.
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on September 20, 2015
This is the first Berenstain Bear book I've seen that quotes the bible. If your Christian thats great but...my family is not Christian so it was disappointing to see. I also wish that it talked about respecting everyone and not just "elders." Very disappointing, the Berenstain Bears used to have universal lessons and with this book and from what I could tell from the books featured on the back they seem to be only for Christians.
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on February 2, 2016
I love the Berenstain Bear books! This one is about being respectful to elders. I feel like the point was a little short of being made, though. I don't think my 7 & 9 year olds even got the lesson, unfortunately. There were definitely a few laughs in the book, but the Bible quotes used were too hard for kids to grasp in my opinion.
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on March 14, 2013
This book is just okay. I really like the characters in the story but there are parts that lack the proper wording for a young child. It also doesn't teach the correct lesson in my opinion. Children need to learn about how to respect others but not played out in the way this story teaches. I really like the characters but the content needs some work.
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