Down a Sunny Dirt Road by Stan Berenstain
An Autobiography

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Synopsis

Once upon a time, in Mrs. Sweeney’s first year drawing class at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art, a “lantern-jawed exotic” named Stan admired the drawing of a brown-haired, blue-eyed girl named Janice . . . and it was kismet! It also heralded the birth of one of the great collaborations in all of children’s literature: Stan and Jan Berenstain, creators of the Berenstain Bears.

This enormously readable account tells of the early years before they met, their courtship (briefly interrupted by World War II), married life, and their first fateful meeting with Theodor Seuss Geisel–the editor-in-chief and president of Beginner Books.

It was this fateful meeting that led to the publication of The Big Honey Hunt–the book that launched
their careers as children’s book artists and introduced to the world what would quickly become America’s first family of bears: the Berenstain Bears.
 

About Stan Berenstain

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Stan Berenstain was born in 1923 in Philadelphia, the same year and place as his future wife, Jan. They met as students at the Philadelphia College of Art. World War II delayed their career plans: Stan joined the army as a medical assistant while Jan supported the war effort by working in an airplane factory. They married in 1946 and together began drawing cartoons for the McCall's/Good Housekeeping It's All in the Family series. They worked on this feature from 1956 through 1990. The Big Honey Hunt, published in 1962, was their first book for children. This book about a family of bears, written for Dr. Seuss's Beginner Books series, was so popular that Dr. Seuss himself, Theodore Geisel, encouraged them to write more stories. Geisel's advice launched the Berenstains on life-career writing and illustrating the very successful Berenstain Bears books. The Berenstain Bears' New Baby, published in 1974, was the beginning of the First Time Books series. The Children's Choice Award was given to The Berenstain Bears' New Neighbors in 1995. The Berenstains were also honored for their work in children's literature when they received the Ludington Award in 1989. There have been television shows based on the Berenstain Bears books, as well as CD-ROMs and videos. Stan and Jan Berenstain live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. They have two sons and four grandchildren who continue to provide them with ideas for their books. Jan Berenstain was born Jan Grant on July 26, 1923 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She met Stan Berenstain on their first day of classes in 1941 at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art. During World War II, Stan served as a medical illustrator in an Army hospital and Jan worked as a draftswoman in the Army Corps of Engineers and as an aircraft riveter. They married in 1946 and together began drawing cartoons for the McCall's/Good Housekeeping All in the Family series. They worked on this feature from 1956 through 1990. They also published artwork in magazines like Colliers and the Saturday Evening Post. The Big Honey Hunt, published in 1962, was their first book for children. This book, which was written for Dr. Seuss's Beginner Books series, was so popular that Dr. Seuss himself, Theodore Geisel, encouraged them to write more stories. His advice launched them on a life-career writing and illustrating the Berenstain Bears books. The Berenstain Bears' New Baby, published in 1974, was the beginning of the First Time Books series. She wrote more than 300 books during her lifetime. The couple received numerous awards including the Children's Choice Award for The Berenstain Bears' New Neighbors in 1995 and the Ludington Award in 1989 for their work in children's literature. There have been television shows based on the Berenstain Bears books, as well as CD-ROMs and videos. She died after a stroke on February 24, 2012 at the age of 88.
 
Published January 1, 1991 by Unknown. 208 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Young Adult, Biographies & Memoirs, Nature & Wildlife, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Down a Sunny Dirt Road

Kirkus Reviews

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Two of the all-time bestselling children's authors reminisce—at length—about growing up in the '30s and '40s, getting their start in magazine cartooning, then moving into children's books as proteges of Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss).

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Down a Sunny Dirt Road: An Au...

The New York Times

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The sentences are often convoluted, and the book conveys little insight into how the Berenstains work today or what techniques they use now that the Bears have grown to a business that includes their sons Leo and Michael, producing paperback picture books, chapter books, videos, television cartoo...

Apr 20 2003 | Read Full Review of Down a Sunny Dirt Road: An Au...

Publishers Weekly

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The creative couple behind the bestselling Berenstain Bears opens this sprightly, joint autobiography with alternating chapters chronicling their respective childhoods in Philadelphia. Stan's a

Sep 30 2002 | Read Full Review of Down a Sunny Dirt Road: An Au...

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