“When a problem at school is kept secret too long, it can grow 'til a cub thinks that everything's wrong!”
—Opening quote for The Berenstain Bears' Trouble at School
'The Berenstain Bears' Trouble at School is a book in The Berenstain Bears First Time Books series that was first published in 1986. It was later adapted into an episode of the 2003 adaptation of The Berenstain Bears.
One day Brother Bear comes home from school with a cold causing him to sneeze and wheeze. Mama Bear takes his temperature, puts him in bed, and calls Dr. Grizzly who tells Mama to keep Brother in bed and home from school until his temperature goes down and to give him lots of juice. Mama does what Dr. Grizzly says and keeps Brother in bed and home from school and gives him juice. She also has Papa Bear bring in a tv for Brother to watch, his comic books to look at, and his dinosaur collection to play with. The next day Sister Bear brings Brother make up work from school but he tosses it aside because he is having too much fun playing with his dinosaurs. Unknown to Brother at school his teacher Teacher Bob is teaching the cubs in his class a new math equation how to divide and on the soccer team Cousin Fred is taking Brother's place and is becoming quite a good player. A few days later when Brother returns to school he remembers about the make up work and decides to do it on the bus but gets distracted when he hears about Cousin Fred being a good player on the soccer team which makes Brother angry and jealous. After P.E. when Brother returns to class Teacher Bob gives the cubs a quiz on division. Even in an unprepared state, Brother might have squeaked by, as he had done rather well with earlier math lessons, but Brother's mind was so nervous from the quiz and annoyed by Freddy's promotion that he flunks. Teacher Bob gives Brother a very poor grade and orders Brother to have this signed by his parents to which makes Brother worry that Mama and Papa are going to scream and shout at him for the failure. When Brother returns home Sister starts sneezing and coughing. Mama and Papa say that Sister caught Brother's earlier illness and lavish all their attention on her, paying none to Brother. Brother takes advantage of this to avoid the news about his horror of a math test.
The next day Sister stays home and Brother goes to the bus stop by himself. However, Brother plays hooky by hiding in the grass until the bus departs the bus stop! Brother walks into the woods, throwing stones and ordering animals out of his way, ranting how nothing has ever gone right for him in soccer or academics. Then Brother takes the quiz out of his backpack, folds it into a paper airplane, and sends it flying off, figuring his problems flew off with it. Brother is sighted by his grandparents, as the forest road is connected to their house. Grams and Gran are perplexed why Brother would be there during school hours, but they deduce something must be wrong so they should try and be supportive instead of condemning. Brother opens up about his problems, to which Gramps takes Brother to a nearby swamp and shows him an old wagon that's stuck in the swamp. Gramps revealed that the wagon once belonged to him, as in his younger years he made a wrong turn on the road. Similar to Brother's tirade, Gramps got angry at himself and kept making more foolish turns, until his wagon got submerged in the peat. Gramps then realized he actually worked so hard to bring it about himself, and if he just stopped for a moment and reconsidered his course routes, none of this would have happened. Brother thinks the lesson is "it is never too late to correct a mistake", and Gramps notices a paper airplane stuck in the brambles near his house. He realizes that is Brother's quiz and says if it must be signed by his parents, then the best course of action is to face the problem and get it signed. Gramps takes Brother home. To be sure, Mama and Papa are not happy with Brother's truancy. However, Gramps goes to bat for Brother saying he has already helped to set Brother right, so Papa and Mama hold off on a tirade and sign the quiz. Gramps also presents the Bears with ten sugar cookies his wife made, and Brother remarks if Mama, Papa, Sister, Gramps and himself all get an equal amount, it would be two cookies. Gramps says he just performed division! Mama then takes Brother to school, but Brother asks would it not be late? Mama says "it is never too late to correct a mistake". Brother arrives just in time for math class to begin. Teacher Bob said most students did poorly, so he decided to give another quiz. Brother then gets it back with a very good grade. Later, at soccer practice, the coach decides to give Brother his old spot back. The coach says Cousin Freddy is not ready for the first string, but has been making progress. Rather than gloat, Brother praises Freddy for sharpening his athletic ability.
In the book, Brother never picked up his homework when he was sick, in the episode Sister tells him if he can lift a dinosaur, he can lift a pencil. Just when he is about to start, his favorite show comes on.