This review originally appeared on the now-defunct site FamilyWonder.com, which showcased children's entertainment for parents and caregivers.
Title: Berenstain Bears Vol. 8: Bears to the Rescue
Running Time: 33 minutes
"The Missing Dinosaur Bone" finds Papa, Brother, Sister, and Cousin Freddy searching for a femur stolen from the museum's T-Rex skeleton. Papa almost destroys more priceless artifacts while helping with the search.
The young bears must come "To The Rescue" of someone to earn scouting badges. But when Papa offers to help teach them lifesaving skills, he ends up needing rescue himself.
Raffish Ralph makes a deal with Arch Weasel to take over Farmer Ben's successful orchards. The Berenstain Bears put their heads together to "Save The Farm."
Best For Ages:
2-5 - These short, witty episodes appeal even to children too young to follow the plots.
6-8 - This series' humor appeals to school-age children, who delight in predicting what will happen next.
Educational Value: The young bears use their education and problem-solving skills to find a missing relic, rescue Papa from his misadventures, and keep a farm from succumbing to blight.
Entertainment Value: The two pseudo-mysteries framing the comic "To the Rescue" get young viewers involved in guessing the outcome.
In many Berenstain Bears episodes, the cubs learn important life lessons from their parents, like using good manners or getting along with others. In this volume, however, the adults need advice from the kids.
Papa Bear's silliness in "The Missing Dinosaur Bone" and particularly "To The Rescue" will delight children, who enjoy seeing kids act more responsibly than the adults. "Papa talks way too much," giggled one seven-year-old viewer," while a six-year-old agreed, "Papa always does things wrong." The responsible cubs use logic to figure out where the relic has been buried and combine their scouting skills to get Papa out of the messes he creates trying to help them get rescue badges.
"The Berenstain Bears Save the Farm" has higher stakes, as two adult thugs try to swindle Farmer Ben out of his lands by using an abandoned windmill nearby. Sister and Brother realize the "windmill" is blowing in the wrong direction and guess that a sudden outbreak of blight isn't accidental. These episodes don't contain lectures about cooperation or accepting others' differences, but teach by illustration, which is often more effective.
For more Berenstain Bears mystery-solving, try THE BERENSTAIN BEARS AND THE MISSING DINOSAUR BONE. Fans of Arch Weasel can see more of him in THE BERENSTAIN BEARS VOLUME 2.
Children's Television Reviews