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Laugh and Learn with The Bears

Stories can teach little kids lessons if they strike the perfect balance between zany fun (short attention spans, after all) and relatable characters and situations (a limited experience base, thus far.) The Berenstain Bears series has managed this trick since the first book was published in the early 60s. Since then, 300 installments of stories have captured this bear family, as they tackle everything from doing chores, to crushes, to healthy eating and lack of self-confidence. Educators have loved the Berenstain Bears as much as kids, for their straight-ahead messages and problem solving.

The authors, husband and wife team Stan and Jan Berenstain, modeled the characters after their own family and perhaps that's why their no-frills stories hit the bullseye. "They were able to take the real issues of children's lives and make them entertaining and not preachy," Ilene Abramson, director of children's services at the Los Angeles Public Library told the  LA Times.

Now, kids can watch three Berenstain stories rolled into one, with music and dance to boot, when Matt Murphy Productions stages "The Berenstain Bears in Family Matters: The Musical" at the Quick Center on November 14. In it, three of the series' most popular books, "The Berenstain Bears Learn about Strangers," "The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food" and "The Berenstain Bears' Trouble at School" come to life. And whether the Berenstain Bears are old friends or new ones, kids will find that, except for the bear part, they have a lot in common. Performances take place at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets are $12 and $15. For more information, visit the Quick Center's website.

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