Berenstains, look. I feel like I know you pretty well by now. That's because Kate (age 6) demands several Berenstain Bears books at bedtime every night and has for a while. I've read your family of bears deal with God, death, the Gimmees, all the big issues.
Here's something that we both know that a lot of other people don't: that shit is long. Your books. They take a lifetime. That means several long bedtime minutes - minutes I could be spending doing other stuff- spent putting up with all the elements of these bears' lives. Including:
- Mama Bear's smug bossiness and persistent housecoat wearing.
- The fact that the two older kids are named Brother and Sister and that even their friends call them that.
- The fact that the parents are named Mama and Papa and that even their friends call them that.
- The fact that this treehouse of theirs is amorphous and mutable, sometimes huge, sometimes tiny.
- The fact that bears have opposable thumbs, wear clothes, walk erect all the time, and drive cars. And have jobs.
- The disquieting fact that there are no humans.
- The lack of anthropomorphizing in regard to other animals. Dogs are still dogs.
- Did I mention how LONG these books are.
So look, Berenstains, I've contributed many hours to your books. I've built up your brand. I couldn't do more for you unless I tattooed character illustrations on Kate's cerebellum.
And that's all fine.
All I want is one thing. One book where a human shows up, possibly just hiking through Bear Country, and the bears behave like bears. I want a mauled camper. Give it to me. Connect me with reality, Berenstains. Make it graphic.
This can be a secret edition, send it to me in a plain brown wrapper. I will acquire a wall safe and hide it there so the kids never see it, at least until they're eighteen, well sixteen, and can really appreciate it. Fourteen.
Do this for me, Berenstains. I'll never ask for anything again.