Follow TV Tropes


Characters / The Berenstain Bears

Go To

Since Stan and Jan Berenstain populated their books with Loads and Loads of Characters, it's natural that they'd get their own character sheet.

    open/close all folders 

     The Bear Family 

Papa Bear

The well-meaning but comically inept patriarch of the Bear Family.

First appearance: The Big Honey Hunt

  • Beware the Nice Ones: Though the much lighter disciplinarian of him and Mama, the cubs know better than to get on his bad side when he's really pushed well past his limitations.
  • Big Eater: He is very fond of eating.
  • Bumbling Dad: Sometimes, but he has been shown to be the voice of reason just as frequently.
  • Butt-Monkey: If a laugh happens at someone else's expense in the franchise, it'll usually be Papa Bear's. For example, in the 2003 episode, "Visit Fun Park", Papa gets stuck riding the terrifying Thunderbolt when the cubs decide to bail out.
  • Characterization Marches On: In earlier books, Papa Bear was more of a blowhard and an Idiot Hero. In later books, Papa became more of a genuinely wise, if flawed, patriarch.
  • Everyone Has Standards: He loves sweets, but in the 2003 series episode "Visit the Dentist", he admits that gooey gums are too sweet even for him.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric.
  • Good Parents: Despite his flaws (he has a tendency to boast and can be a greedy eater), he is a loving, wise and respected father nonetheless. Papa's good dad traits are especially emphasized in the 2003 series.
  • Handy Man: Papa's profession is woodcarving and he sometimes does repairs around the treehouse.
  • Happily Married: To Mama.
  • Hot-Blooded: Papa can be stubborn and hotblooded, particularly in the books.
  • Hypocrite: Papa was outraged at Sister getting kicked out of a boys only club in "No Girls Allowed", but in "Play Ball", he dismissed Sister from playing baseball thinking it's not for girls.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's egotistic and a bit naughty at times, but he is a very good, affectionate father. The 2003 series downplays the "jerk" part and makes him a straight-up Nice Guy most of the time.
  • Lethal Chef: In "Blaze a Trail" and "Too Much Vacation", he gathers whatever plants he can find in the wilderness to make a stew, which tasted awful as it looked. In "Blaze a Trail", his stew emitted a stench so bad that it became a landmark. He is not a bad cook most of the time, though.
  • Manchild: Papa shows shades of this; depending on the story, he's just as susceptible to frivolous addictions as his children, and hard-headed to the point of suicide. His own father said that Papa used to be an ill-behaved cub himself.
  • Nice Hat: Papa Bear's signature brown hat.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: Papa at times calls out his children for habits he does himself like excessive TV watching, junk food eating, disobeying Mama and throwing tantrums.
  • Pride: This is one of Papa Bear's main character flaws, to the point that in "The Giant Mall" from the 2003 series, he spends over an hour wandering the mall looking for a hardware store because he wouldn't read a map. Though he does admit he was wrong at the end of the episode and vows to change his ways.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Of the more well-meaning variety.
  • Spoiled Brat: His parents spoiled him rotten in his childhood as shown back in "Get the Gimmies".

Mama Bear

The level-headed matriarch of the Bear Family.

First appearance: The Big Honey Hunt

  • Deadpan Snarker: Papa Bear has a way of bringing out this side of her.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: She tried throwing away Brother and Sister's stuff deriding it all as worthless junk when they couldn't agree on how to clean their room.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic.
  • Good Parents: She is a kind and loving mother to her cubs.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: She easily loses her temper, as many book covers show her making an angry face.
  • Happily Married: Papa's bumbling antics and childish behavior can get on her nerve from time to time, but for the most part, she dearly loves him.
  • Housewife: Until "Mama's New Job", when she opened up her own quilt-making business.
  • Only Sane Man: Quite often.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Mama is normally the level-headed one in the family, which becomes shocking in "Too Much Pressure" when she breaks down in tears due to being overwhelmed with taking Brother and Sister to their activities and the car breaking down.
  • Parents as People: Papa and Mama Bear are not without their flaws. Papa can be oafish and Mama can be somewhat preachy. And both of them have been shown to lose their temper at times (e.g. Papa in "Trouble with Money" or Mama in "The Messy Room"). Also, "The Trouble with Grownups" is a virtual lampshading of part of this trope, although it examines the parent-child relationship from both sides of the fence.
  • Static Character: Mama has far less flaws than her husband or her cubs, and thus is the family member who develops the least in the franchise.
  • Women Are Wiser: She is often much more levelheaded than her husband and the wisest member of the family.

Small Bear / Brother Bear

The laid-back firstborn cub in the family. Originally named Small Bear in the earliest books, his name changed following Sister's birth.

First appearance: The Big Honey Hunt

  • Age Lift: He is ten years old in the PBS series, rather than eight as in the books.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He stood up to Too-Tall when the latter took Sister's jump rope. This behavior continues throughout the rest of the various books and eventually extends to anyone being bullied.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: His poor grades in "Trouble In School" and "The Homework Hassle" were really due to him slacking off and procrastinating since he's shown many times that he's much smarter than his work showed.
  • Compressed Vice: And how!
  • Cool Big Bro: Brother becomes this to Sister in "The Birthday Boy".
  • The Everyman: He does not have a whole lot of traits other than being just the main character.
  • Fatal Flaw: Several books and TV episodes are dedicated to Brother's laziness.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic.
  • The Hero / The Leader: In the Scout books mostly though he will occasionally play this role in the main books and the chapter books.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Fred.
  • Kid Detective: Brother and Sister dabble in mystery-solving during the big chapter books.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In the 2003 series, whenever Brother starts to become too self-involved his friend Lenny has a habit of (unintentionally) giving him his just deserts ("Hug And Make Up", "Catch The Bus").
  • Lovable Jock: Brother is proficient in multiple sports (soccer, basketball, baseball, football) and is one of the friendliest cubs in Bear County.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The introverted Blue Oni to his outgoing sister's Red Oni.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: In "The Berenstain Bears Gotta Dance!", Brother ends up taking ballet. He uses what he learned from it to his advantage to dump Too-Tall Grizzly into a dumpster.
  • Would Not Hit a Girl: He was perfectly willing to beat up Tuffy for hurting Sister until he saw that Tuffy was female (and extremely tiny to boot). He left without a fight because he knew that if he hit her HE'D be the bully.

Sister Bear

The hot-blooded second child of the Bear Family.

First appearance: New Baby

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism Sister once got a swelled head when her classmates declared her the best jump-roper in Bear county ("The Jump Rope Contest"). It lasted a day before her friend Lizzie deflated it.
  • Age Lift: She is eight years old in the PBS series, rather than six in the books.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: She wishes for her own horse in the episode "The Wishing Star".
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Sometimes to Brother.
  • Compressed Vice: Much like her brother, each book has them have this in order to go through An Aesop.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Sister becomes deeply jealous of her brother and dreams up an actual green-eyed monster in an episode of the 2003 series. Freakiness briefly ensues.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Lizzie.
  • Kid Detective: Brother, Sister, Cousin Fred and later Lizzie Bruin form the Bear Detectives, solving mysteries from a missing pumpkin to empty jars of honey.
    • Deconstructed at the end of The Drug Free Zone. The Bear Detectives expose drug dealing in Bear Country; while the police thank them for their help, they also berate the cubs for getting involved. The cubs get warned that messing with drug dealers can be dangerous and is not like finding a missing pumpkin.
  • The Lancer: Most frequently in the Scout books though she sometimes does play this role in the main books and the chapter books.
  • Passionate Sports Girl
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red Oni to Brother's Blue Oni.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Sister wears a bow and loves wearing pink.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Hilary snidely asks Sister this in the PBS Kids version of "The In-Crowd". Sister has no response except an angry huff and an indignant pout.

Honey Bear

The third and final cub of the Bear Family.

First appearance: And Baby Makes Five

  • Adapted Out: She is not featured in the PBS series.
  • Baby Talk: Displays this with such traits as pronouncing "Amen" as "Men" and referring to parakeets as "keets". Beyond that, her main Baby Talk trait is that she displays short simple sentences and ideas.
  • Cousin Oliver: A recent addition who's brought mixed responses from the fanbase and doesn't usually serve a purpose other than being cute.
  • The Cutie: Quite an adorable cub.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Eclectic.


The family's seldom-seen pet dog.

First appearance: The Trouble with Pets.

  • Ascended Extra: She's a much more recurring character in the PBS series.
  • Team Pet: Has played this role off and on.


Gramps and Gran

First appearance: The Sitter


  • Cool Old Guy: Gramps is a good-natured elder.
  • Cool Old Lady: Gran is a sweet grandmother.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Not really embarrassing, but in one of the Scouts books, Gramps' real name is revealed to be Ernest.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: And The Giddy Grandma gives us a look into Gramps' and Gran's past, where Gran was a vaudeville act called "Wanda the One-Bear Band".
  • Only Sane Man: Gramps showed this in the Scouts books. He would often be the only adult bear to see through Ralph's scams.


Brother and Sister's cousin.

  • Cat Smile: He is drawn with this in the 2003 series.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Brother.
  • Mister Exposition: Or rather, Mister Definition. Whenever a word comes up that the other cubs don't recognize, they turn to Freddy, who reads the dictionary for fun, for the definition.
  • Nerd Glasses: Highly intelligent and wears glasses.
  • The Smart Guy: In the Scout books and the 2003 series.

     Other Cubs 

Lizzy Bruin
Sister's best friend. First appearance: The Trouble with Friends

Barry Bruin

Lizzy's older brother and friend of Brother Bear.

  • Dumb Jock: He's very athletic, but not very bright.
  • Literal-Minded: He often takes analogies literally, such as when he's asked to choose a pen name, he picks "Ballpoint. Or maybe fountain."

Queenie McBear

The popular "new girl" who later became friends with Sister.

  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Her Alpha Bitch tendencies in the PBS series are almost non-existent, to the point her role was replaced by another cub in the show's version of "The In-Crowd".
  • Alpha Bitch: But she's a very mild example.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Queenie is this to Ferdy Factual in "The Nerdy Nephew".
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Undergoes this in her first appearance, The In-Crowd, in which she is initially portrayed as a stereotypically snobby Alpha Bitch before learning to become more humble and accepting of others. She is portrayed as a much nicer character in most works since to the degree that her role was replaced with a newcomer named Hilary in the television adaptation of The In-Crowd.
  • Gossipy Hens: She's one in the Big Chapter Book series.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Frequently.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: She has one of these with Too-Tall Grizzly.
  • Soapbox Sadie: She's fond of giving dramatic protest speeches. She's shown doing this in The Female Fullback as she's running for school president, and in The School Scandal Sheet, she gives a dramatic speech about student rights and freedom of speech before being told to shut up by Brother Bear.
  • Vague Age: in the PBS series she's shown in both Brother and Sister's classrooms, depending on what the plot of the episode

Stacy and Millie
Two girls who are in Sister Bear's class.

'Too-Tall' Grizzly

The local bully at Bear Country Elementary. He sometimes cons Brother into helping him with his pranks.

  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Too-Tall's redeeming qualities are more prominent in the 2003 series, particularly the later episodes after he's befriended Brother.
  • Berserk Button: If you mess with Harry McGill or get him in trouble, he will make you pay dearly for it.
  • The Big Guy: He is much bigger than his peers - hence the name.
  • Book Dumb: Too-Tall is not that bright when it comes to book-learning and is shown to have poor grades quite often.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Too-Tall has his moments of this, like fawning over a kitten.
  • The Bully: Too-Tall Grizzly is the thuggish leader of a gang of bullies - aptly called the Too-Tall Gang - who harass Brother and Sister Bear from time to time. During the Darker and Edgier chapter books, Too-Tall progressed from being very mean to his classmates to dealing drugs (at ten!) and bringing realistic fake guns to school to start trouble.
  • Character Development: In the 2003 series, Too-Tall is initially introduced as a thuggish, tough bully and troublemaker who antagonizes Brother Bear out of jealousy ("Go To School", "Double Dare", "The Birthday Boy", "The Slumber Party", "Trick or Treat", "Mighty Milton"). Over time, Too-Tall learns from Brother's kindness that the smaller cub is a genuinely good person and his jealousy of him fades, while Brother discovers from spending time around Too-Tall that he does have layers beyond 'mean kid' and that he might have misjudged him. The two gain respect for each other, and Too-Tall gradually matures. He becomes a calmer, less abrasive cub and settles into the role of the protagonists' frenemy and eventual friend in the second half of the series ("The Talent Show", "The Big Red Kite", "Showdown at Birder's Wood", "White Water Adventure", "Big Road Race", "Papa's Pizza", "The Female Fullback", "Say Please And Thank You"), likely because of Brother's influence softening him.
    • Part of Too-Tall's development is learning when to swallow his wounded pride. Despite being the neighborhood tough kid, Too-Tall does care what his peers think of him ("Mighty Milton", "White Water Adventure"), so it's not a fun or easy thing for him to do. By "Big Road Race" and "The Female Fullback", he's gotten better at humility.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Too-Tall becomes friends with Harry McGill, a Handicapped Badass he was taunting, after the latter beat him in wheelchair basketball. Harry also thanks him for giving him a cool nickname, "Wheels."
    • Too-Tall similarly lays off Milton in the 2003 series, after the cub he'd been picking on for days beats him at wrestling.
  • Delinquent: When he and his gang aren't taunting or roughing up their classmates, they're trespassing on other people's property and playing pranks all around Bear Country. They also dabbled in drug-dealing in one book.
  • Depending on the Writer: How much of an antagonist Too-Tall is to Brother and Sister Bear varies from book to book; he can be anywhere from a nuisance to an ally.
  • Fair Weather Friend: After letting Brother roll with his gang, he swindles Brother into helping him with his pranks (for his amusement) and then leaves him hanging to face Farmer Ben in "Double Dare".
  • Gang of Bullies: Too-Tall is the leader of one, with other members including Smirk, Skuzz and Vinnie.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • In the 2003 series, he has a surprising talent for singing.
    • In the chapter books, starting in "The Wheelchair Commando", he's got a talent for chess. He's thrilled when he finds out Harry plays the game since none of his goons are capable of playing chess at all let alone giving him a challenge, and the other students are too afraid of him to play against him.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite being an intimidating bully, Too-Tall has his standards and a hidden soft side that's emphasized more in some iterations of the franchise than others. In general, he's a mean kid but he's not heartless, and he's helped out Brother, Sister and their friends several times.
    • In one of the chapter books, he's annoyed with a rich new kid who Queenie has her eye on but is willing to ignore it. Then the kid blocks the handicapped entrance to make a phone call long enough to make Harry nearly late for school and suddenly Too-Tall is pissed.
  • Large and in Charge: He's big and the leader of his gang.
  • Kick the Dog: Being a bully, Too-Tall has had several examples of this, like making Ferdy Factual cry or harassing Milton Chubb so much he starts to dread going to school.
  • Nice Hat: His old-school purple cap that he wears in most incarnations.
  • No Indoor Voice: In the 1985 series.
  • Pet the Dog: He's had several moments, usually after undergoing Character Development. In "White Water Adventure", he reaches out to Brother and starts to formally befriend him. In "Big Road Race", Brother, Fred and Too-Tall unanimously decide to pass up a shot at competing in a race, to give the kid who helped them out a chance to live out his dreams. In "The Female Fullback", despite his gripes about learning ballet, he gives Betsy zero trouble and thanks her plenty when her lessons do wind up helping him and his friends.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Appears to be this in the 2003 series, where he's shown to be more well-behaved when he's not hanging out with his gang ("The Talent Show", "White Water Adventure", "Big Road Race", and "The Female Fullback").
  • Relationship Revolving Door: He has one of these with Queenie McBear.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: His father, Two-Ton Grizzly, is basically a larger version of Too-Tall.
  • The Resenter: It's at times implied (in stories like "Mighty Milton") that he envies Brother Bear and resents him for being a better athlete than him and being more popular than him, though he eventually grows out of this trait.
  • Smart People Play Chess: He's very good at chess, much to the surprise of many.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In the 2003 series, his bullying is mostly taunting, thievery and mean remarks, but there's only one threat he made to beat Brother up, which wasn't blatantly obvious. He mellows out as the series progresses and surprisingly enough becomes friends with Brother. He also develops a soft spot for Kenny, a younger neighborhood cub.

Skuzz and Smirk

Too-Tall's intimidating right-hand cubs.

  • Flat Character: Their characters in the books aren't really developed much, other than being not as smart as Too-Tall, and being smarter than Vinnie.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Everyone calls them Skuzz and Smirk, but their real names are unknown.
  • Only One Name
  • Number Two: Skuzz
  • Stupid Evil: In the 2003 series, Smirk believed Too-Tall knew everything without a second thought.
    • Yes-Man: Similarly, particularly in this series, both he and Skuzz tend to automatically agree with any statement made by Too-Tall.
  • Voice of Reason: Skuzz doesn't like Queenie due to her fickle nature, and is the only one in the gang shown to know how fickle she is. He has even claimed he doesn't like her in "Queenie's Crazy Crush."


The least intelligent member of Too-Tall's gang with a sharp nose.


Ferdy Factual

Milton Chubb

Bonnie Brown

Harry McGill

  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: He gets ticked off by anyone who shows sympathy over his being in a wheelchair.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: A computer expert.
  • Handicapped Badass: Has been in a wheelchair since he was involved in a car crash, but is a champion of wheelchair basketball.
  • Odd Friendship: with Too-Tall, after their wheelchair basketball showdown leads to Too-Tall getting respect for him.
  • Smart People Play Chess: He's a very good chess player. This is part of his friendship with Too-Tall Grizzly.

     Bear Country School 

Teacher Bob

The teacher of Brother Bear's 3rd Grade class.

  • Only One Name: His last name is unknown.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He's quick to act on poor academic performance or disruptive behavior in his class, but usually is friendly towards his students.

Teacher Jane

The teacher of Sister Bear's 1st Grade class.

Herbert Honeycomb

The principal of Bear Country School.

Mervyn "Bullhorn" Grizzmeyer

The stubborn vice principal of Bear Country School.

  • Dean Bitterman: He has very little tolerance for shenanigans in his school and is often the one who doles out discipline, though he can be overruled by Principal Honeycomb.

     Other Beartown Citizens 

Mayor Horace J. Honeypot

The Mayor of Bear Country.

  • Spoonerism: He tends to get the fronts and backs of his words mixed up. (Example: "What beems to see the bubble - er, seems to be the trouble?") Averted in the main books and the 2003 series, where he speaks normally.

Professor Actual Factual

Farmer Ben

The local farmer.

Raffish Ralph / Ralph Ripoff
A con artist who is Beartown's leading crook and swindler. Papa is his favorite sucker since he always falls for his scams. First appearances: "The Terrible Termite" (TV series), The Prize Pumpkin (books).

  • Canon Foreigner: Originally appeared in the TV series and then made a cameo appearance in The Prize Pumpkin. Later became a recurring antagonist of the Bear Scouts chapter books.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: He doesn't appear in the 2003 series, due to being in a different continuity.
  • Con Artist: His primary hobby.
  • Disney Death: In one Bear Scouts book, two cons attempt to murder him when he catches on to their scheme by tying him up and dumping him in a lake. He survives by escaping from the ropes, thanks to his old days as a magician and escape artist.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • In one episode of the cartoon, "Hot Air Election", he actually refused to assist McGreed in his scheme for that episode, mainly because it involved seriously hurting if not outright killing the Bear family.
    • And in one Big Chapter book, he was infuriated when two other cons managed to get away with all but a few dollars of the funds that were planned to be used to build a new hospital wing. May also double as Hypocritical Humor, though even he has never gone that far.
    • Don't forget the Big Chapter book that dealt with drug pushers. He was irate when he found the drugs hidden in his houseboat and very frankly informs the cubs that he'd never sell or do anything that would legitimately endanger them.
  • Honest John's Dealership: He swindles people, particularly Papa.
  • I Have Many Names: Possible reason for his name being different in the Scouts books.
  • Nice Hat: He wears a yellow boater hat with a green stripe.
  • Pet the Dog: In one Big Chapter book involving drug-dealers, he offered to pay the cubs some spending money (or "extra bread", as he put it). Not in helping him in one of his cons, but simply fixing up his houseboat.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: In both the 1985 series and the Bear Scouts books, much to the cubs' chagrin.
    • This good publicity was used to good effect in And the Galloping Ghost where he turned his con artist abilities to a good cause and used his shell game to raise enough money to pay off another month of the horse ranch's mortgage singlehandedly.
  • Would Not Hurt A Child: See "Even Evil has Standards" above. Being a con artist is one thing, but Ralph would never do anything to put children in any real danger (like pushing drugs or sabotaging a hot-air balloon).


A giant bear who lives in a mountain cave outside of Beartown.

  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: As his name suggests, he is the series' Fictional Counterpart of Bigfoot. His first appearance even has him leaving behind a paw print, alluding to Bigfoot's trademark footprints.
  • Characterization Marches On: In his first appearance in "Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw", Bigpaw speaks rather normally. In the sequel 80's TV series, he speaks in a Third-Person Person and You No Take Candle manner (though he does speak in first person sometimes).
  • Gaia's Vengeance: He is foretold to be be nature's way of punishing the bears for being too selfish and greedy around Thanksgiving, as he would destroy Bear Country for being too ungrateful for their harvest. In "Meet Bigpaw", this does nearly happen in a roundabout way, since while he never intends to bring harm to the bears at first, when they aggressively march on his home, he nearly kills them all with a rockslide, which would indeed bring forth the destruction of the greedy, paranoid bears as the legend told. It's not until Brother and Sister demonstrate their friendliness and selflessness that Bigpaw and the townspeople both relent, averting the disaster. While Bigpaw didn't destroy the bears as predicted, his coming still taught the townspeople the lesson the legend warned about, fulfilling the prophecy.
  • Gentle Giant: Ultimately proves to be this.
  • Papa Wolf: Does not like it when the kids are endangered, especially Lizzie and Sister.

     Other Animals 

Weasel McGreed

The leader of an underground pack of weasels who schemes to - you guessed it - take over Bear Country.

Queen Nectar

The queen of a colony of honeybees that make Wild Wild Honey, which they are fiercely protective of. She is archenemies with Papa who constantly goes after her honey.

  • Bee Afraid: Only if you seek her honey. And if you do, she will send out her swarm after you.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: As much as she dislikes Papa for constantly trying to take her honey, she doesn't believe in Sins of the Father and is on good terms with the cubs for respecting her.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: She is constantly on guard for anyone after the Wild Wild Honey, and she works with other bee colonies when they have their honey stolen.
  • Stock Beehive: Averted. Like real honeybees, her colony nest inside a hollow tree rather than this trope.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: