[[quoteright:200:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/berenstein2_1496.png]]
[[caption-width-right:200: Do we have to call them the "[[WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones modern Wood Age family]]"?]]
'''''The Berenstain Bears''''' is a long-running children's book series created by Stan and Jan Berenstain in 1962. It centers on a family of bears composed of Mama and Papa Bear, and their children, Brother (formerly Small), Sister, and Honey Bear. Yes, those are their real names. It started out as series of simple picture books in the line of DrSeuss, but soon evolved into a series of story picture books for children. Starting in 1993, the Berenstains (that's the authors) began writing Big Chapter Books, which put the characters into more serious situations in much longer (but still kid-oriented) books. The picture books have also taken several formats as well, ranging from small hardcovers written in rhyme, to square picture books. Almost all of the books take the title ''"[[CharacterNameAndTheNounPhrase The Berenstain Bears and __________]]"''

Note the spelling of the name, by the way. It's a common error.

There were also several animated adaptations over time: ''Christmas Tree'', ''Meet Bigpaw'', ''Easter Surprise'', ''Valentine Special'' and ''Little Leaguer'', all of which aired on Creator/{{NBC}}. A TV series aired on Creator/{{CBS}} between 1985 and 1986, and a second began in 2003 on Creator/PBSKids. The PBS series was produced by Creator/{{Nelvana}}.

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!!Tropes present:

* AdaptationExpansion: The cartoon adaptations of the storybooks would often add in scenes that weren't in the original stories. For example, the cartoon version of ''The Truth'' has Brother and Sister play a bit of soccer outside before they eventually go back inside and break Mama's lamp.
** While the book version of ''Get the Gimmies'' simply dealt with the cubs' greed and tantrums, the cartoon inserted a "let's think of others in need" variation that changed the whole moral.
** The cartoon version of ''The Sitter'' actually shows Mama & Papa Bear at the community meeting; apparently, their whole reason for going in the first place was because Papa was frustrated with the fact that the gas stations no longer served free coffee & donuts.
*** The cartoon version of "The Trouble with Grown Ups" gives an explanation as to Mama & Papa's bad tempers - Papa's jigsaw breaks down, so he needs to use the "for sale" section of the paper (which is why he gets mad at Brother for taking it without asking), and Mama has been expecting an important call, which is why she gets mad at Sister for hogging the phone. Also, Mama and Papa apologize for being hard on the cubs, and point out that while they agree that it isn't always easy being a cub, being a parent isn't easy either, leading to the role reversal when Brother and Sister disagree.
* AdultsAreUseless: Unless they're your parents or grandparents. ''Especially'' don't contact the school authorities about bullies...wait...
* AesopAmnesia: Papa Bear manages to forget one Aesop ''in the very same book about it''. He calmly tells Mama to not throw a fit because the cubs accidentally broke a vase...but when they break a window, BerserkButton.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The weasels in the ''Bear Scouts'' books and the cartoon are absolutely always evil, with no exceptions.
* AnAesop: Most every book tries to teach a lesson[[note]] Moreover, each book begins with a simple four-line rhyme explaining it[[/note]]. Some of the Big Chapter ones are particularly hamfisted in doing so (such as ''No Guns Allowed'', where Too-Tall gets busted for using a ''squirt'' gun).
* AnimatedAdaptation: See above.
* AWeightyAesop: ''Too Much Junk Food'' is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin - all the Bears save Mama end up eating too much junk food, and it takes a visit to the doctor to ScareEmStraight. Ironically, some people have noted that said junk food is [[DoNotDoThisCoolThing highly colorful]] [[FoodPorn and delectable.]]
* [[BarefootCartoonAnimal Bearfoot Cartoon Animals]]: Most of the characters in Bear Country. Professor Actual Factual wears ''spats'' over his feet while Bigpaw goes [[NakedPeopleAreFunny au naturale]].
* BigGuy: Too-Tall.
* TheBoxingEpisode: A portion of ''The Berenstain Bears and the Bully'' is Brother Bear teaching Sister Bear to box so that she can defend herself from a bully at school. Sister is a natural at it, from what the pictures let us see.
* ABoyAGirlAndABabyFamily: With the addition of Honey Bear.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: The ending line of the AnimatedAdaptation's theme:
-->"You may think that this starts our show / Well, it does!"
** To the tune of John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever," by the way.
* BumblingDad: Papa Bear, though he is the voice of reason in ''Messy Room''.
* CanonImmigrant: [[HonestJohnsDealership Raffish Ralph]] (later renamed [[MeaningfulName Ralph Ripoff]]) and Weasel [=McGreed=] from the 1980s cartoon.
* CatchPhrase: "I don't know if I can stand the excitement." The 1980s cartoon version of Brother often said this in SarcasmMode.
* CharacterNameAndTheNounPhrase
* ChristmasEpisode
* CluelessAesop: See [[http://www.toplessrobot.com/2008/12/the_8_most_awkward_berenstain_bears_books.php here]] for the 8 most awkward titles.
** If your '''immediate''' reaction to #1's cover is [[spoiler: "FantasticRacism!"]], TVTropesRuinedYourLife. ([[spoiler: Or you've already been to the trope page and seen it as the page image.]])
* CoolOldGuy: ''The Week at Grandma's'' has Brother and Sister find this out about their grandparents.
* CompressedVice: The plot point of several books, among them: eating too much junk food, watching too much television, throwing tantrums, and forgetting their manners.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Many of the Big Chapter Books.
* DeadpanSnarker: Mama, in ''Too Much Television''. When Papa complains that he won't be able to check the weather if he can't catch the TV weather report, Mama fires back with "Try this. It's called sticking your hand out the window to see if it's raining."
* DoNotDoThisCoolThing: Many people think that the junk food in ''...and Too Much Junk Food'' looks so colorful and delicious, despite the Aesop of junk food being bad for you.
** Quote from one RealLife child looking at the inside cover:
--> "Mamma bear sad. Mamma Bear needs to eat some candy."
** The Space Grizzlies [[MerchandiseDriven toy line and movie]] from ''The Bad Dream'' that gives the kids nightmares, actually looked like a pretty cool franchise (sort of MonsterInMyPocket meets StarWars).
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Aside from Brother Bear being called Small Bear, anything that was written before ''The Berenstain Bears New Baby'' (the first "First Time Book"). Later entries in those previous lines (e.g., Beginner Books) were written to reflect the First Time Books.[[note]]Which are generally considered to be the "main continuity" of the series.[[/note]] Moreover, the Bears themselves had similar, but nonetheless different designs from the First Time Books.
* [[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep Everyone Calls Him Brother]]: Everyone refers to members of the Bear family by their role in the family. Keep in mind that everyone outside the Bear family has a proper name.
** Of note is the fact that, before Sister Bear was born (and as previously mentioned), Brother Bear was originally called Small Bear.
** In the German translation (at least of the TV series), Brother and Sister are renamed Bastel and Suse.
** [[SubvertedTrope The pattern stopped in 2000]] with the introduction of Honey Bear.
** Brother and Sister's cousin Fred is called "Cousin Fred" by ''everyone'', even teachers.
** Lampshaded with Paps's full name: Papa Q. Bear.
* FeudEpisode: ''Get In A Fight'' deals with Brother and Sister getting into a bitter argument with each other.
* FictionalCounterpart: "[[{{Franchise/Barbie}} Bearbie]]" dolls, present in the books and cartoon. Also [[Toys/BeanieBabies Beary Bubbies]].
** In fact, this series provides ''lots'' of them. Among them are [[SantaClaus Santa Bear]], [[AmeliaEarhart Amelia]] [[PunnyName "Bearhart"]][[note]]Which isn't a new one either.[[/note]], the [[BurgerFool Burger Bear]], the Dairy Bear, and the [[GameBoy Game Bear]].
** An episode in the 2003 show has [[Music/BritneySpears Britney Bear]] and [[Music/TheBackstreetBoys The Backstreet Bears]].
* FirstPetStory: ''The Trouble With Pets''
* GenderEqualEnsemble: For the longest time, The Bear family consisted of Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Brother Bear and Sister Bear. This balance was undone with the introduction of Honey Bear in 2000.
* HannaBarbera: Producers of the 1980's series.
* HypocriticalHumor: Papa Bear, repeatedly. When Brother and Sister whine about not being allowed to watch TV for a week in ''Too Much Television'', Papa lectures them about being good sports - and then finishes with "Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a sports show I want to watch."
* {{Hypocrite}}: In the chapter book about the dress code, one of the teachers turns up at the Bear family's house to drum up support for a scheduled meeting for a debate about the dress code. Brother happens to be present and asks about the band concert that was previously scheduled at that time. When the teacher brushes off his concerns by claiming the debate is more important and the concert will be rescheduled, Brother storms up to his room in a fit of temper. The narration tells us Brother and the rest of the band want the concert (a school-sponsored event) to be over soon so they can move on; the hypocrisy of the teachers disrupting school events for their own desires (which they had claimed the cubs' fashion choices had been doing) so angers Brother that he goes from being a mildly annoyed but overall neutral party to [[LetsGetDangerous a ringleader of the kids' side of the debate who is ultimately indirectly responsible for their win]].
* ImplausibleDeniability:
-->'''Papa Bear''': I told you, I never get sick! *sneezes*
* InMediasRes: The fourth book, ''Moving Day'', explained how the family moved into their tree house.
* InnocentSwearing: Happens to Sister Bear and her friend Lizzie with the word "furball" after they watch a video owned by Lizzie's brother - [[ShowWithinAShow ''Trouble At Big Bear High'']]
* IWasQuiteAFashionVictim: How the kids thwart the school's new dress code; display a slide show of the adults wearing absurd 60s and 70s clothing.
* LampshadeHanging: In the ''Too Much TV'' episode of the PBS series, Brother Bear comments that he could learn just as much from a nature show on PBS than from a book.
* LicensedGame: One for the SegaGenesis, one for the SegaPico, and one for the GameBoyColor. And a few for the PC/Mac.
* LimitedWardrobe: Lampshaded when Freddie and Lizzy are borrowing Sister and Brother's clothes. The artwork shows their closets have twenty of the exact same outfit.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Very many secondary characters.
* LongRunner
* LoopholeAbuse: In one of the novels, a new principal establishes a school dress code, and the students hate ''both'' the new principal ''and'' the dress code. So they study the rules and on the very first day, decide to piss off the principal by doing ''just'' this, and intentionally declaring that they are not breaking any rules. "The rules say there are no ''blue'' jeans allowed...Mine are ''green''", and "It says no ''Superman'' capes...this is a ''batman'' cape." This prompts the principal to blow his top and put in an ObviousRulePatch mid-day.
* MagicFeather: In ''The Bad Dream'', Sister Bear goes to the local movie house to see the romantic comedy ''The Magic Toeshoes'', which is premised entirely on this trope. (Brother opts instead to catch the infinitely cooler ''Space Grizzlies''!)
* MamaBear: Well, that's her name, anyway....
* TheMoralSubstitute: There are Christian Berenstain Bear books. [[http://friendlyatheist.com/2008/11/26/the-berenstain-bears-are-christian/ This is not a joke.]] Most notably,''The Berenstain Bears and the Big Question'', in which they are heavily suggested to be Quaker. There is even a Berenstain Bears children's [[Literature/TheBible Bible]]. [[http://www.amazon.com/Berenstain-Bears-Holy-Bible-NIrV/dp/0310726085/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344366089&sr=8-1&keywords=berenstain+bears+bible (Yep, that's not a joke, either.)]]
* TheMovingExperience: The book ''Moving Day'' flashbacks to before Sister Bear was born and the Bear family lived in a cave, before deciding to move to their split-level tree house in Bear Country. When the book was adapted into a TV episode (in the PBS/Nelvana series), the story was appropriately told in flashback and bookended with Brother and Sister being distraught that two of their friends from school will be moving away.
* [[OnlySaneMan Only Sane Bear]]: This trope gets passed around a lot but frequent holders are Brother, Mama and Sister; Lizzie has also gotten it when the conflict is between Brother and Sister.
* ParentalHypocrisy: A mild version involving a school dress code. The kids adopt obnoxious new fashions, and due to an escalating power struggle between the acting principal who keeps making new rules and the kids using LoopholeAbuse, it looks like the school will be going to uniforms... until Grandma Bear defuses the situation by hauling out photos of Papa and Mama Bear in their ludicrous Seventies attire.
* PetBabyWildAnimal: In one of the PBS Kids TV stories, Sister Bear adopts a baby chipmunk.
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: ''No Guns Allowed'', in response to Columbine and other school shootings.
** And ''The Sinister Smoke Ring'', which featured anti-smoking protesters, Brother briefly joining Too-Tall's gang and a moose mascot that might as well just be called "Joe Camel."
* {{Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome}}: look at Brother in The New Baby. Kayaking, snorkeling, and all sorts of activities. The New School Year is post-Honey's birth (to the point where she's walking). Brother is in 3rd grade and Sister is in 1st. No way is Brother 2 in the first book, and no way is Sister 4 in the Bear Scout books.
* SpeciesSurname. The Bear family of course, but also Dr and Too-Tall Grizzly, the Ursus family, Queeny McBear, Lizzy Bruin, and practically every other character has a surname that is some variation of the word Bear.
* SteamNeverDies: Sister and Brother Berenstain may eat too much modern junk food, watch too much TV and do their homework on a computer, but when the time comes to take the train to visit Aunt Tilly, suddenly it's 1899 all over again. The Grizzly Express comes complete with steam engine, caboose, coal car, coal tender, dining car, and engineers wearing blue coveralls and funny hats.
* StockSoundEffects: In the audiobook production of ''The Berenstain Bears and the Baby Chipmunk'', the sound effect for the squealing of the chipmunk should be instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever owned a guinea pig.
* TertiarySexualCharacteristics: Sister's bow
** In ''The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor'', though, Brother and Sister strip down for their checkup and reveal that they are wearing matching undergarments [[StockUnderwear (white tank tops with matching boxer-briefs)]].
*** [[JustifiedTrope Well, Sister was only 6 or so at the time.]]
* ThemeTuneRollCall: Both TV adaptations do this.
* ThisIsMySide: Done with Brother and Sister's tree house in ''...Get in a Fight''.
* TitleThemeTune
* TooSmartForStrangers: A comparatively realistic and intelligent handling of the subject.
* WalkIntoCameraObstruction:
** In the theme song in 1985, where a bear in purple overalls walks into the screen.
** And the theme song in 2003, where Papa Bear is riding a unicycle, but runs into the screen.
* WickedWeasel: In the ''Bear Scouts'' series, an underground society of AlwaysChaoticEvil weasels led by Weasel [=McGreed=] serve as recurring villains.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: What happened to the dog? An early book depicts them getting a pet dog who is never shown again. (If not extremely rarely) Granted, she appears in the 2003 Cartoon a few times.
* WomenAreWiser: Except for that incident in Messy Room where she lost her temper and started throwing out all the cubs' toys out and Papa got to be the voice of reason, Mama is always right and Papa is always wrong. (In some of the rhyming advice books, he's not just wrong, but almost lethally stupid.)
** Thankfully, there was another moment where, after the Slumber Party goes a little too out of hand, Papa mentions that maybe it was ''their'' fault too, since they didn't ask if Lizzie's parents would be home.

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