- In one of The Berenstain Bears picture-books, Sister Bear is threatened by, and later punches, a girl who's bullying her at school. The bully physically assaults Sister Bear off-screen (the book opens with Sister coming home in tears with her clothes and fur dirty, her bow ripped, and God knows what else), is later seen throwing rocks at a baby bird, while the two are waiting for the principal the bully is shown crying and admitting that her parents will probably hit her if they find out what she did, which causes Sister to think she must get hit a lot at home so that's why she bullies people...put it all together and what do you get?
Sister: Mama, guess what? That Tuffy who's been picking on me? Turns out her parents abuse her. That must be why she's a bully.Mama: Oh, what a relief! I thought she was just a bad cub. Do you want vegetable soup or lasagna for dinner?
- The real horror is that Sister has this revelation and does...absolutely nothing with it. You can almost see her going home and having this conversation:
- The book did mention that Tuffy got therapy.
- But the parents don't.
- Plus, Sister's a kid. What could she do? Even if she told her parents, what could they do?
- Call authorities? That might not help either. Anyway, if I remember the book correctly, the bully had to see a counselor three times a week.
- No mention of the image showing Sister imagining all the things she wanted to do to Tuffy when she was going home after being beat up? To reiterate: We see her in a tank, with a morning star, in a bomber plane with a bomb under it, on a horse with a javelin, her in superhero pose, all facing the same direction. Okay, now, most kids would likely just imagine the bully being humiliated. Sister imagines Tuffy about to be killed in so many different, horrific, and painful ways. Not so nice and innocent, now is she? Oh, and in case you forgot: She's thinking all this because she got beat up by Tuffy, whose initial crime was to lob rocks at a bird.
- Well, she IS about five.
- Do most 5-year-olds think about killing the bully in so many gruesome, horrific ways? Do they even know that most of the things we saw her imagine can and ARE lethal if used on someone else? The implication here is that she knows exactly what those things could do to Tuffy, and is imagining each and every one of them bearing down on her.
- Hasn't everyone fantasized about bombing someone at some point? She probably sees that sort of thing on TV, and would never actually do it.
- To answer the above question, though? Yes. Children are, to quote from Peter Pan, "gay and innocent and heartless"; imagining killing a bully is actually pretty normal at that age.
- In The Berenstain Bears' Moving Day (a prequel to the rest of the series), Mama and Papa and Small Bear (as he was called at that point before Sister was born) are pictured moving into their new tree house, and their new neighbors who are rabbits, squirrels, frogs, etc are coming to greet them. Later on, though, these animals are depicted as ordinary beasts. Brother and Sister get a pet dog, the bear family are shown eating chicken, and Farmer Ben is raising sheep and pigs.
- In one of the newer books, a family of pandas bears come to live in the town the series is set in. Papa Bear begins to hate them. Now this begins the Aesop where he learns to not judge people by their fur color, but think about it. Before this book, most if not all the characters living in the town were grizzly bears. Makes one wonder how long Papa's held this belief of "they're [non-grizzlies] not even real bears" and just never had the opportunity to show it until now? To amplify it further, where did he learn to hate non-grizzly bears? One source could have been from his own parents, aka the lovable Grandmother and Grandfather Bears that we love so much. Whether intentionally or unknowingly, they instilled the distrust into their son and it wasn't until this book that it finally came out.
Fridge / The Berenstain Bears