We’d always assumed the Berenstain Bears — the cuddly, anthropomorphic ursine stars of bestselling kids books — were sort of Jewish. Maybe it was the name, given by series creators Stan and Jan Berenstain, whose kids now keep the franchise going. There’s even been serious investigation of the Semitic-bear issue on web sites like Jew or Not Jew.
Alas, The New Yorker’s Book Bench blog pops that balloon. While the blog reports that (Jewish) Stan and (Episcopalian) Jan “resisted religious elements in their books for children,” son Mike is taking the series in a decidedly goyish direction. Indeed, Berenstain the younger has launched a new series of Berenstain tales as part of the “Living Lights” series published by Zonderkidz, a division of Zondervan, a Christian publisher based in Michigan.