The Berenstain Bears...And the Messy Room

I don't know how much you remember about the books you read as a child. Chances are, there are at least a few that stick out: The Giving Tree, Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are. I definitely remember those. Recently, I uncovered another from my childhood The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room. And, although it wasn't exactly what I thought it was, it still made me laugh to know I owned this as a kid.

Of course, I read this! Probably over and over. And so, I read it again, just to see what I thought of it now.

The title page reads, "When small bears forget to pick up, store and stash, some of their favorite things end up in the trash." A little harsh there, Mama Bear! But, let's see what this is all about...

The story begins by establishing that the Bears' home is well kept, clean and neat; everyone is expected to contribute to the state of the house. The one place that didn't quite ring true to this is the cubs' room. Apparently, they try to keep up with the room, but sometimes it just becomes too much. Sounds familiar. The chaos leads to fighting, leads to Mama Bear cleaning up for them, which leads to Mama losing it. Also sounds familiar. Mama threatens to toss it all out, when Papa Bear comes to the rescue. He suggests they store their items in boxes, by type of toy, and put a peg board on the wall. They take action and even label their toy boxes (oh yeah!). Some items end up going in to the trash, but only when the cubs give the go-ahead. The end result is a room the cubs enjoy, have room to enjoy and take pride in keeping up.

Well done, Stan and Jan Berenstain! Papa Bear's methods are almost entirely the same as mine. I would have suggested going through the toys before bringing in a bunch of supplies like boxes or bins. But, the ideas are the same. If anyone is struggling with their child about what organizing means and how it helps the person, the space, the lifestyle, this quick, little book might be the start of a great conversation.

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