Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Berenstain Bears and a Job Well Done

Great work ethic isn't just a useful life skill, it's a biblical principle - that's what the bear cubs learn in The Berenstain Bears and a Job Well Done by Jan and Mike Berenstain.

It's spring cleaning time, and everyone in the Berenstain family has a job. While Mama beats the rugs, Papa fixes a broken railing, and Brother, Sister, and Honey head off to clean their playhouse. The cubs start out with good intentions, but when they discover spiders living inside the playhouse, they are a little put off. Soon, they rediscover Brother's baseball, bat, and glove laying nearby and begin playing with them.

When Papa finishes his chore, he's surprised to see the cubs playing even though the playhouse is still a mess. Papa's not pleased, but when he learns the cubs are afraid of spiders, he remembers he felt the same as a cub. He sweeps away the spiders and the cubs get back to work. Papa tells them the Bible has something to say about hard work: "It says...finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house." Mama adds: "It says in the Bible that God made work for us to do and there's nothing better than to enjoy your work." The entire family agrees they will enjoy their fixed railing, the clean rugs, and a clean playhouse.

The inside cover of the book includes two questions for discussion, directions for making a chore chart, and the suggestion it's good to help others with their chores.

What I Like: My four year old loves the Berenstain bears, and since she needs help with her work ethic, this book was a big hit for both kid and mom.

What I Dislike: I wish the Bible verses Mama and Papa mention were notated somewhere. As it is, the only attributed biblical quotation appears before the story: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." Eccl. 9:10. I was also a bit surprised to find the book doesn't mention possibly the strongest biblical saying about work: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." (Col. 3:23).

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: 4 - 8.

Publishing Info: Zonderkidz, 2010; ISBN: 978-0310712541; paperback, $3.99

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

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