Book Review: The Berenstain Bears Keep the Faith

by Mike Berenstain, published by Zonderkidz

Every once in a while, I’ll run into a book to check out on a general Christian review list. This one looked extra interesting because it’s a kids’ book and the preview mentioned science. So, I asked my 5 year old if he’d like to read it with me and we ordered it. Here’s what I think:

The book is a great way to get kids thinking about why they believe in God while others around them don’t. I was especially pleased that they recognized many non-believers use science to say there is no God.

First, we are introduced to many of the bear cubs’ friends, leading us to a special friend, Ferdy. His dad runs the science museum and they’ve learned all kinds of cool things from him, but then they find he doesn’t give God the credit for the things they see:

“I don’t believe that God created the world,” said Ferdy. “In fact, I don’t believe in God, at all.”

“You don’t believe in God?” asked Brother, surprised.

“No,” said Ferdy, “I believe in science–in things you can see and test and prove.”

Well done! Mike caught a big part of the issue we face. For this alone I‘m glad to have the book around.

Naturally, the bear cubs don’t know what to say to their friend, and soon Mama Bear finds out what’s bugging them. She explains we believe in God because of the Bible and choose to have faith. We also experience God for ourselves in our hearts. Again, kudos to the author!

From this point on I got more annoyed at the book. Unfortunately, I bet it’s all too realistic. When the cubs want to know what faith means, both Mama and Papa pass the buck. At least they know where to take the cubs: the pastor.

The pastor does something wise and gives them a Bible example, telling them the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. That’s fine, the author of Hebrews does the same thing.

But the book gets to the thought: faith = trust and stops.

In fact, Sister’s practical use of her new understanding of faith is rather scary. The family walks home in a thunderstorm and she decides not to be scared.

What was Mama thinking taking her family for a stroll with lightning around?

Plus, neither Sister or Brother do any actual talking to God to strengthen their faith. Prayer wasn’t once mentioned.

So, if you can fit this book in your budget (it retails for $3.99) or run across it somewhere, get it. Your kids will have their appetite whetted to think about this super important question. Then, take the time as their mom and dad to develop answers to questions like theirs.

If you’re a pastor, please give your flock more substance than just saying Daniel had faith and trusted in God’s love!

So, how do we teach our kids about faith?

Looks like I could (and should) write a whole post on this, but here are some resources to get you started:

A great article for parents by Eric Hovind starting with his experience growing up in a Christian home and guiding parents in what to focus on with the next generation.

Answers in Genesis has a set of books for students and leaders. I found the list of topics on the Student Workbook helpful to know where to start.

Apologetics Press has a bunch of articles on Faith and Reason

Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8b

Disclosure: I received a free review copy of The Berenstain Bears Keep the Faith from the publisher in exchange for my review. All thoughts are my own.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Berenstain Bears Keep the Faith

  1. Missy @ Dot-to-Dot Connections

    We love the Berenstain Bears books! I especially love the newer ones with a Christian theme, (I think they are called Living Lights.) They don’t go deep enough for my liking either, but, like you said, it’s good for whetting the kid’s appetites and getting them thinking about things 🙂 We hadn’t seen this one yet, but we’ll have to add it to our collection 🙂 Thank you for sharing this with us!

    Reply
  2. SLIMJIM

    Am I correct to say that it seems the book shows more of what the world thinks about faith? That is, it’s a nice thing to believe in God but it’s not necessarily able to stand up to rational scrutiny?

    Reply
    1. Cheri Fields Post author

      Not really. It just stopped far short of the confidence we can have as children of God. I didn’t get the impression that the author was coddling the faith community to make some money, I just think his work represents the weakness of too many Christians’ experience. Thanks for asking!

      Reply

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