Jan Berenstain, co-creator of the Berenstain Bears books, died Friday after suffering a stroke on Thursday.
Jan, and husband Stan, wrote and illustrated the children’s books, which were inspired by their children, and later by their grandchildren. The books featured Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Brother Bear and Sister Bear, and sent a message of family values, kindness and generosity. The Berenstain Bears stories were about kids’ common concerns, like visits to the dentist, peer pressure, summer camp, a new sibling, the first day of school, getting kids to do chores, etc.
Jan and Stan Berenstain married in 1946, and had a cartoon series in McCall’s and GoodHousekeeping magazines, as well as art featured in The Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s. Their first book, The Big Honey Hunt, was published in 1962, and they went on to write over 300 titles, published in 23 languages. Stan died in 2005 at age 82.
Son Mike worked as an illustrator for his mother’s books, and son Leo handles the business end of the family franchise. Mike will continue the legacy.
In addition to her two sons, Jan is also survived by four grandchildren. RIP, Mama Berenstain.