Monday, October 10, 2011

The Berenstain Bears Reap the Harvest

Brother and Sister Bear are trying to decide what to do with their summer in Stan, Jan, and Mike Berenstain's The Berenstain Bears Reap the Harvest. Sister suggests they should get a job because "Papa says according to Proverbs, 'All hard work brings a profit."

Fortunately for the cubs, it just so happens Farmer Ben is looking for help - although he's not entirely sure the Bears are old enough to be really useful. Brother and Sister convince him they can do lots of things: Collect eggs, feed the chickens, sweep the barn, slop the hogs, call the cows, and make sure the bull pen is locked tight. But when they ask how much they will be paid, Farmer Ben surprises them. He tells them corn is his cash crop - the crop he sells for money. "I'll tell you what," the farmer says, "If you do a good job, I'll pay you the money I get for all the corn that grows in that corner of the field." He explains he won't know how much money that will be until autumn; it all depends on how much sunshine and rain there is, and whether they can keep pests away. "That's the way it is with farming," he says. "Same way it is with faith...our true reward comes later on - in God's good time."

The young cubs agree and work hard for the farmer all summer. And, lo, the corn crop is one of Farmer Ben's best ever. The cubs are pleased with their summer's pay and put all their earnings into the bank. "We want to keep it at least as long as it took to earn it," they say.

What I Like: My kids like Berenstain Bear books. This one seems to have a less obvious moral than most of the Berenstain books (a weakness, in my opinion), but it does a better job integrating a Bible-based theme into the story than many of the newer books in the series. My kids enjoyed it.

What I Dislike: Nothing, really.

Overall Rating: Very good.

Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 to 8, but my 2 year old enjoyed it, too.

Publishing Info: Zonderkidz; 2011; ISBN: 978-0310722779; hardback, 40 pgs., $6.99.

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Special Info: Read our reviews of other Berenstain Bear books.


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