Generations of readers have adored the Berenstain Bears family. Inspired by their own sons’ love of Dr. Seuss books, Jan and Stan Berenstain decided to create their own childrens’ books. In 1962, their first book featuring the bear family was published.
Over the years, the series of books has featured the adventures of Mama, Papa, Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear. The books are well-known for exploring different adventures and mishaps, each with a lesson or two to be learned by the readers.
Titles like The Berenstain Bears go to the Doctor and The Berenstain Bears in the Dark offer bravery to young readers. Other books like The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Money and The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room offer gentle stories on making better choices for caregivers to share with their little ones.
In recent years, the authors’ son, Mike has continued on the family tradition, writing and publishing books for the Living Light series, an offshoot of the Berenstain Bears series that offers spiritual stories.
If you are searching for titles similar to the Berenstain Bears series to share with youngsters, look no further. Below is a list of 20 books that offer the same type of feel-good stories with positive messages for you to share with little ones.
Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann
Pinkalicious seriously loves the color pink. In the first book of this series, she is delighted when she eats enough pink cupcakes to turn her skin a rosy shade of pink. But when she wakes up red, the doctor suggests the young girl eats a steady diet of green.
Readers will delight in Pinkalicious and her brother Peter’s adventures, as they deal with bullies, go to the beach, and even lose their first tooth!
Pete the Cat by James Dean
If you’re looking for a series to share with your youngsters that are seriously groovy, Pete the Cat is where it’s at. Written by James Dean and featuring the most laid-back cat you’ll ever meet, Pete the Cat is perfect for teaching kids to go with the flow.
In Pete the Cat’s White Shoes, Pete doesn’t fret when his white shoes get stained with different things; similarly, in Pete the Cat’s Four Groovy Buttons, he’s optimistic that he still has his belly button even when all four of his buttons have popped off his shirt.
A delight for children to listen to and read along with, grown-ups will have a great time reading (and singing) these books out loud.
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
For a STEM-tastic twist on picture books that feature a heavy dose of girl power, pick up The Questioneers picture books by Andrea Beaty. In the first, Rosie Revere is frustrated when her invention doesn’t work out the way she had planned.
But when she tries having a growth mindset, and makes some adjustments to her original design, she succeeds. The pages reflect a young girl as an engineer, and can teach all kids that failure can lead to success.
Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Conner
Nancy loves to be, well…fancy! Join Nancy and her friends as they add a touch of fancy to their everyday lives. Young readers adore Nancy and grown-ups love the sophisticated vocabulary she uses. These books feature a strong female protagonist who often problem solves, learns lessons, and has a strong sense of self.
If you’re looking for characters who will grow with your reader, you’ll want to check this one out. Not only are there exciting picture books, but Fancy Nancy appears in early readers and in chapter books. And if your young ones want to see Nancy jump off the page, pair these reads with the cartoon series.
Lola and Leo series by Anna McQuinn
For a sweet family-focused picture book series, pick up books in the Lola and Leo series. Lola and her younger brother are featured in these books doing every-day activities, like reading to each other, going to the library, and going to the doctor.
Grown-ups will love relying on these books to prepare children for activities and life events, and children will love getting to know the siblings.
The Little Critters by Mercer Mayer
This beloved series by Mercer Mayer features characters who star in an extensive series of over 140 books!
Readers will delight as the characters in each book go on adventures, like going into the city in Mama and Me, and do day-to-day things like in Just go to Bed! The lovable characters have been adored for decades, and will capture the hearts and imaginations of your young ones.
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Kevin Henkes’s classic picture book about a mouse with a beautiful but challenging name to say is beloved by children and adults. When Chrysanthemum goes to school and is teased about her long name, her parents try to cheer her up. After meeting her new music teacher, who is named Delphinium, after the flower, Chrysanthemum once again loves her unique and beautiful name.
If you’re searching for empowering books about the beauty of names, be sure to take a look at Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Tompkins-Bigelow.
Felix and Fiona by Rosemary Wells
Rosemary Wells’s Felix and Fiona series is perfect for read-alouds that pack some great lessons into relatable stories. In Fiona’s Little Accident, readers feel for Fiona as she constantly pushes aside her need to go to the bathroom.
When she has an accident in front of her classmates, a kind friend offers support. Discussions around using the toilet are encouraged while the opportunity for thinking about how to be a good friend is also present. Wells’s age-appropriate books are beloved by caregivers and children alike.
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Kevin Henkes is an incredible children’s author, and knows how to capture a child’s feelings with empathy and encouragement. In Wemberly Worried, a young mouse is anxious about going to school on the first day.
When he arrives, Wemberly meets someone who is just like him, and the two become fast friends. With adorable illustrations and loving storytelling, youngsters will be drawn to this story, and grown ups will find multiple opportunities for discussions on every page.
Arthur by Marc Brown
The Arthur books are classics and have many of the same fans as the Berenstain Bears books. With over 25 titles and series spin-offs featuring his sister, D.W., readers will have a lot of room to grow with these books.
In these books by Marc Brown, Arthur, D.W., and the rest of their family are often depicted doing everyday things and going on mini adventures. Readers will love titles like Arthur’s Loose Tooth and Arthur’s Family Vacation, and grown ups will love that children see themselves reflected in the situations in each book.
We Don’t Eat our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
If you’re looking for a seriously silly picture book to read aloud to children, you have to try out Ryan T. Higgins’s books. In We Don’t Eat our Classmates, readers will meet Penelope, a dinosaur who is nervous about going to school, especially because she’s different from her classmates.
The illustrations in this book are just as hilarious as the words, and readers will laugh along as Penelope struggles to not eat her human classmates. A wonderful ice breaker for the first day of school, this silly story begs to be read over and over again.
Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester
If you’re searching for some books that will turn storytime into a gigglefest, try out Tacky the Penguin. Tacky is a penguin who stays true to himself, even if that means that he stands out from the other penguins.
But somehow, Tacky is always able to get himself and his friends out of tough situations. For some lessons on having a strong sense of self, nestled in between some seriously silly pages, Tacky is your go-to. ‘
Clifford by Norman Bridwell
What child wouldn’t love to have a big red dog as their pet? Readers will enjoy following Emily Elizabeth’s adventures from the very first time they meet her and her red pup in the first installment of the 80-book series.
Favorites of the series include Clifford’s Bathtime and Clifford Makes a Friend, with each of the fun picture books focusing on different adventures and gentle lessons. For readers who are ready for some screen time, the books have been adapted into a television series with some snappy music, as well as a full length movie.
Max and Ruby by Rosemary Wells
The perfect series for siblings to read together, the Max and Ruby books feature 3-year-old bunny Max and his older sister, Ruby. The two have very different personalities, making for fun everyday adventures.
Rosemary Wells’s gentle storytelling allows grownups and children to make beautiful connections to her books. Readers will love these reliably sweet stories.
Llama Llama by Anna Dewdney
Llama Llama books are a delight to read outloud, with their rhyming words, their sweet illustrations, and their encouraging, positive messages. Take Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa, a story in which the main character is staying at his grandparents’ house for the first time. Amidst his excitement are some nerves, which young readers can connect with and learn from.
Grownups will love the sweet messages in this book and children will adore the stories and characters.
The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
While the Pout Pout Fish is known for being a pretty grumpy fish, children are anything but as they follow along this story. Diesen has crafted some wonderful books that showcase social emotional skills in some really sweet stories.
In the original Pout Pout Fish, the fish’s friends try to cheer him up as he spreads his dreary attitude all over. In The Pout Pout Fish and the Bully Bully Shark, the fish works up the guts to confront a school bully.
Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems
Anything Mo Willems touches is kid-approved, and the Elephant and Piggie series has amassed a loyal following of toddlers, school-aged children, and their grown ups. Piggie and Elephant are best friends who learn some huge lessons within these books, including how to share, how to include each other, and being kind to others.
With simple words on each page, often in speech bubbles, paired with bright, colorful illustrations, children adore the style of these books.
Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
Mo Willems wins again with the delightful tales of Knuffle Bunny. In the first book, Knuffle Bunny is lost! The child he belongs to panics, and so do his parents, as they search everywhere for the loveable stuffy. Any grown-up who has been on the search for a lost stuffy will relate to this tale!
The adventures continue in the following books, Knuffle Bunny Too and Knuffle Bunny Free, which will all soon be your child’s favorites!
Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
For readers who can’t get enough of adventurous animals, the Frog and Toad books are a perfect fit. These early reader picture books encourage young readers to try out their reading skills, or are just as enjoyable when read aloud by a grown up.
Frog and Toad are best friends who go on adventures together, inviting readers along on each of them. A study in friendship and fun, these books are a staple in any young child’s bookshelf.
The Bad Seed by Jory John
For a hilarious series that features different types of foods and their personality traits, pick up John Jory’s The Bad Seed series. Readers will love hearing about The Cool Bean and The Good Egg, and grown ups will love the positive messages found in each book.
How many books are in the Berenstain Bears series?
Over 300 books have been published in the Berenstain Bears series.
Who has continued writing the Berenstain Bears books?
Stan and Jan Berenstain, the original creators of the book series, have passed away. Carrying along the family tradition of creating new books for the series is their son, Mike.
Has the series been adapted to television or a movie?
Yes, there is an animated television show that has been developed and is based closely on the books. There is also a full-length animated movie that was developed in 2004.
What series should I read if I enjoyed the Berenstain Bears books?
There are several series that you would enjoy, including Llama Llama, Pete the Cat, and Piggie and Elephant.
Are Berenstain Bears books still being published?
Yes! Mike Berenstain is still developing new Berenstain Bears books, and a new series was added in 2020, focusing on stories that are faith-based.