My rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Wow. I almost don’t know what to say. This was horrible, but in such a surprising way that I’m not even sure how to react. Normal Berenstain Bears books build up these (usually) horrible, (sometimes) hypocritical morals over 32 pages. This one didn’t bother. The first ~20 pages were drivel, and then sudden in the last 9, the “don’t use words that the Moral Guardians don’t like” moral flies in, squawks, then flies away without so much as an explanation to why it was there in the first place.
A colorful metaphor, but perfectly appropriate. There was no reason to write this book. It came across as a pamphlet more than a picture book, with only the last nine pages having a thing to do with the moral–a moral, mind you, that I find gloriously immoral. But that’s besides the point, amusingly. (It would have been my point, but… there’s just so much else to complain about.)
Mama Bear’s entire argument against “cuss words” is that she doesn’t think they’re very nice. Let’s look at that again: she thinks they’re not nice.
But what about other people’s opinions? Oh, they don’t matter to her.
But what about helping her children understand why the words “aren’t nice”? Nope, still doesn’t matter! She doesn’t like it, and she’s said so, so what more could there be to it? After all, why on earth would her children have opinions of their own? Or questions, for that matter?
So, here’s the bottom line: I really fucking hate these books. If you’re planning on reading these to your children, don’t. Read them some Little Bear. Some Arthur. Some Sesame Street. Anything but these.