|The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers|
|Author/s||Stan and Jan Berenstain|
|Publication date||August 12, 1985|
A happy and friendly Sister Bear happily greets everyone she sees. Brother Bear, who is more cautious, says Sister ought not talk to strangers. She asks Papa Bear who sternly warns her never, ever to talk to strangers! To show his point, he reads her a scary story about a fox who was friendly to a goose, only for the goose to be eaten once the goose was inside the fox's lair. Papa also shows her headlines about what has happened to those who talked to strangers, detailing a recent media event. The headlines read "STRANGER KIDNAPS CUB", "MISSING CUB FOUND", "CHIEF GRIZZLY INTERROGATES STRANGER", "CUB STRANGER PARENT COMMITTEE". However, Papa's lesson works too well, as Sister goes to bed with nightmares. The headlines flash through her mind, as well as an imagined one based on the story, "SILLY GOOSE MISSING, WILY FOX TAKEN IN FOR QUESTIONING". The following day, Sister is worried. She thinks the world is a scary place and anyone she does not know is a stranger. Due to "stranger danger", anyone she sees is an automatic wrongdoer, even when they appear to be ordinary bears to everyone else. Mama Bear explains that most people probably aren't going to hurt her, but she can't know for sure, so she has to be a bit careful about strangers. Mama relays a lesson her mother taught her, "there are always a few bad apples in every bushel". Sister agrees when he sees a lumpy apple, but Mama asks if that is so, as when she cuts it open it is healthy. Mama then shows a normal apple, but when she cuts it open it is full of worms. Sister gets the point that she must use her common sense around people she does not know, but that many people are friendly and say "good morning" to each other simply to be sociable. A relieved Sister accepts Brother's invitation to the town green, where he will be testing his new pusher plane. Brother has fun with his pusher plane while Sister looks to pick flowers. An adult bear is also at the green, who is also an airplane aficionado and commends Brother for his pusher plane. Brother sees this bear owns an expensive remote control airplane, and the aficionado says he wanted to make the plane travel a long way while he follows in his car. He says to Brother "if you wish to watch with me, you are welcome". Sister, who was looking for daisies, overhears this and grabs Brother. She tells the bear they need to head home, and the bear drives off in his car while guiding the RC plane. Brother, who thinks Sister has gotten obsessed about this, is angry with her. His anger is multiplied when Papa shouts at Brother, then Brother says Sister is a tattletale. Papa says it is not tattling to report on something that could have been serious, so Brother calms down and thanks Sister for looking out for him. Although it could have been a kidnapping ploy, Mama tells Sister that chances are likely the bear who owned the remote control plane was law-abiding and probably not a "bad apple".
The last page has rules for strangers, to include:
- Never accept rides from anyone you do not know.
- Never accept gifts from anyone you do not know.
- Your body is your private property. No one else has any right to touch it. (Although when you were very young maybe your mom or dad, or someone in your family, such as your grandma, grandpa, aunt, or uncle may have helped you in the bathtub or changed your diaper when you were too young to do it yourself. Also, your doctor needs to touch your body to help you stay healthy because s/he is in the body business).
Note: “Kidnaps” was changed to “bothers” in one version, which is arguably worse since it implies pedophilia.
- August 12, 1985, Random House (Paperback)