Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Berenstain Bears: God Bless Our Country

If you're looking for a book to introduce the idea of what the Fourth of July is about, The Bernstein Bears: God Bless Our Country may be a good choice. Written by Mike Berenstain, son of Stan and Jan Berenstain (who created the original Berenstain Bear books), this slim title covers the minimum children should know about Independence Day.

The book begins with the Bear family preparing for the Fourth. As Papa tries on his old army uniform (which he'll soon be wearing in a parade), Mama mentions that he wants to look his best for "the big birthday party." This catches the cubs' interest. How can a country have a birthday?

Papa explains that our nation was born when "the settlers who came here decided they didn't like being ruled by a king who lived in a faraway land." They made a decision to become a new country and wrote this on a piece of paper; the King didn't like it. A war broke out - but the settlers won.

"And thanks be to God!" Papa says. "We believe it was God's will that our new country came to be. And it gave folks from all over the world a place to go where they could be truly free." Mama adds that it was like the Bible says, "He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey."

The family attends the Fourth of July parade. Papa marches in his uniform. The flags and bunting Mama made fly in the air. The cubs win second place for their patriotically-dressed bikes. "Happy Fourth of July!" the mayor says. "God bless our country!" Papa says. "Amen!" say the cubs and Mama.

The book ends with three questions for discussion and two ideas for related activities. In addition, the book comes with a page of stickers, based on the patriotic pages in the book.

What I Like: My kids are always excited to read a new Berenstain bear book. I also appreciate that this book teaches young children the basics of what In Independence Day is about.

What I Dislike: I wish the author explained the reasons for the Revolution a better - but I admit that by not doing so, he leaves parents free to discuss the matter further, as the age of their child dictates.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: About 4 - 8.

Publishing Info: Zonderkidz, 2015; ISBN 978-0310734857; paperback, 24 pgs., $4.99

Buy at Amazon for just $4.61
Or buy the Kindle version for $3.99

Or buy it from for $4.49

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