Type Book
Date 1964
Tags picture book, children's book, fiction

The Bike Lesson

The Berenstain Bears

The Bike Lesson is another early Berenstain Bears book, this one from 1964. Like The Big Honey Hunt, we see Papa Bear insisting he knows best, and coming out the worse for it.

The story is simple: Papa Bear has gotten a bicycle for Small Bear, but before he'll let Small Bear ride it, he wants to give him some lessons. Of course, it looks like Papa Bear is in need of lessons himself! He tries to cover up his failures ("This is what/you should not do./Now let his be/a lesson to you."), but one wonders if Small Bear is really falling for it.

The verse is again somewhat lacking--irregular meter, uninspired word choice. Of course, it's a children's book, so I imagine the vocabulary was limited intentionally. Still, it makes me smile when Papa Bear says "this is what you must never do," so I can forgive this.

Like The Big Honey Hunt, the illustrations are good, full-page affairs--no floating objects on a white background in these books--and I find the style charming. Papa Bear's expressions are great, even if both he and Small Bear sometimes look a little odd.

This is another good one, and it's once again easy to find new or used, or even on the Kindle. Again, though, I'm not quite sure how good it would look in black and white on the Kindle, since the lovely watercolors are a good part of the charm of these books--I haven't been able to find any video reviews that show the Kindle displaying picture books. Anyway, if you can get a hard copy of this one, do it!

Name Role
Jan Berenstain Author
Stan Berenstain Author