The family decides to give away what they don't need to those who could really use them, "especially with Christmas coming on." After gathering together the items they don't need, they visit the Old Bears' Home to donate games and puzzles. And even though Brother and Sister feel a little awkward at first, the Bear family sits down and keeps the old bears company for a while, too. Next, they take toys to the Young Cubs Hospital. Their final stop is a store that sells used things to raise money for the needy. There are bears in uniforms playing instruments outside, along with a big pot for donating money.
As the bear family heads home (past the many Christmas store displays) they feel content - and just a little bit less like they need a bunch of new stuff.
What I Like: My kids respond well to the Berenstain Bear books, and this one really does encourage them to give away toys and other items they no longer need to children who could use them. Although Christmas is mentioned, we don't think of this as a Christmas book; the message is good any time of year.
What I Dislike: Nothing, although unlike other recent Berenstain Bear books, there is no overt Christian message here, aside from the Bear family's willingness to give and the two mentions of Christmas.
Overall Rating: Very good.
Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 to 8, although slightly younger kids often enjoy the Berenstain Bear books, too.
Publishing Info: Random House, 1999; ISBN: 978-0679889571; paperback, 32 pgs., $3.99.
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Special Info: Read our reviews of other Berenstain Bear books.