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The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Dream Paperback – May 12, 1988
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From the Inside Flap
After watching a scary movie, both Brother and Sister Bear are troubled by nightmares until Mama and Papa explain what causes bad dreams.
About the Author
Stan and Jan Berenstain were already successful cartoonists for magazines and adult humor books when they began writing children's books. The first story starring the bear family, The Big Honey Hunt, appeared in 1962. Since then, more than 360 Berenstain Bears books have been published, and more than 300 million copies have been sold. What began as an idea sparked by their young sons' love of reading has become one of the best-selling children's book series ever.
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First, the story introduces the idea that children who wear things to help them break bad habits will be mocked by their peers - something elementary children will sadly probably already know about (so the story will feel familiar and sympathetic) but not something that would ever occur to my preschooler (or her peers). So I would definitely have to censor that while reading.
The reward that ultimately convinces Sister Bear to stop also won't be relevant for modern children. Wow, ten pennies. Commentary on changed society aside, I don't know a single child who would work *as hard as you have to!!* to break a bad habit for ten pennies. Either they're too young for the concept of pocket change to be highly motivating (they'd rather have an M&M), or they're old enough to know you can't do squat with ten or even thirty pennies. Shoot, even gumball machines charge $0.50.
So, you could censor the mockery out, and redact the reward to make it ten nickels or ten M&Ms or something, but at the end of the day the ultimate solution given isn't realistic - "being aware" of having coins in her pocket makes Sister Bear not bite her nails, but most oral-motor fixations are something you do *without noticing* and don't even remember after. Not being realistic means it makes the problem of breaking a habit seem artificially easy, which will only increase discouragement for kids who are trying and failing. For that reason, I don't think this book is very relevant for parents of children with this problem. But maybe it's a nice story if your kid has no bad habits.
It hasn't stopped my son from biting his nails, but I think he appreciated feeling like he wasn't alone with his habit. I highly recommend it!
Hang in there parents!! There's light at the end of the tunnel ;)