Most helpful positive review
I'll Show You Why You Should Do As I Say, Not As I Do!
on July 29, 2000
Many youngsters will take their first trip to the beach this summer. The Berenstain have this wonderful book for your child to learn the basics of safety at the ocean (or even a lake).
The family drives to the cottage they will be staying in. Gentle waves lap near the cottage. Mama Bear says to Little Bear, "Stay where I can see you." Papa Bear responds by taking Little Bear by the paw to show him where the danger is.
Here are the rules that Papa bear teaches: (1) Obey all warning signs. (2) Look first. Then dive into the water if it is clear. (3) While surfing, beware of all rocks. (4) Watch your step (there are many sharp shells and objects at the shore). (5) Watch what you touch! It may be alive! (6) In a boat, keep a sharp look out. (7) While exploring underwater, stay out of caves.
Now, create a beginning reader that simply relates these rules, and no child will ever finish it or pay any attention. The Berenstains have created a wonderful Vaudeville act by Papa Bear to exemplify why these are good rules. First, he hangs his towel on a sign, so doesn't see the warning that there is strong undertow until it pulls him out and he has to be saved with a life bouy thrown by Little Bear. Then, he ignores a twig that Little Bear points out in the water. The twig ends up being attached to a sunken log, and Papa Bear is banged up by the collision during his dive. Next, Papa Bear ignores the rocks that Little Bear points out on the beach. Sure enough, a big wave comes along and crashes them and their surfboard into those rocks. Papa Bear ends up walking on large turtles. He goes on to take the sail boat into the path of a large liner, and barely escapes. They end up swimming into the mouth of a rather large toothed fish which at first appeared to be a cave.
Then they return to Mama Bear, and Little Bear explains that he now knows all the rules. Unfortunately, the boat is a wreck so Mama Bear can guess they have had problems. Why Mothers get grey!
The psychology is very subtle for waterproofing the child. Ignoring these rules can get you into trouble, and adults may ignore them (even though they insist that you follow them). I recommend introducing your children to this book well before their first trip to the shore so that the humorous lessons will be well entrenched before you arrive.
The examples and the wonderful color drawings complement the simple rhyming scheme that will reinforce the story for your children. It's also a great way for your new reader to expand her/his reading skills. I heartily endorse this book!
Good luck in helping your children overcome the immortality stall (I can't be hurt, because I'm a kid) and the hypocritical stall (I don't have to follow my own rules, because I'm a parent).
Have a nice time at the beach, while you're at it.