The B________n Bears, by Stan and Jan B.

I’ve always mentally pronounced the last syllable as “stain.” If I had ever seen it spelled the other way, I would be mentally pronouncing it as “stine,” as in Frankenstein.

(BTW, I’ve never read any of the books. I only know of them by reputation.)

My own personal mnemonic for this is imagining Papa Bear falling down in the mud and getting a “stain” on his coveralls.

Perhaps it’s scary that I have a mnemonic for this.


But you haven’t yet met Honey, the baby sister?

(I only recently discovered that the book series actually began with “Brother” being an only child, at the time called “Small Bear,” when I found an old book in which the family, with Papa predictably being the doofus, gives lessons on safety during a beach vacation.)

Wait, how are they supposed to be pronounced? Because I’ve always thought they were pronounced “stain”; so I don’t understand how so many people are messed up about the spelling.

That’s Franken… ah, never mind. You know the ending.

Now I’d be interested to know if the Ein’s vs. Ain’s break down by when you were first introduced to the stories. If they break sharply around a certain decade, the “altered timeline” scenario would suddenly look creepily true.

Me: Ein, 1960s.

I always thought the series looked kind of lame, and don’t recall them being among the reading choices for my son when he was growing up in the early 80s.

However, in another lifetime I was once a radio talk show host, and I actually interviewed Stan and Jan. Oddly enough, it was right at the time they published this book, a somewhat unconventional entry in their canon!

I had the books read to me as a child in the '70s, but it was only when my kids began watching the TV cartoons in the last decade that I heard the name in the theme song distinctly pronounced “-stain” and then I noticed the spelling.

Another good one was “Mr. Dirty and Mrs. Clean.” They were a lot of fun pre-Bears.

I heard the name before I ever saw it spelled, so I knew the first time I saw it that it was pronounced “-stain,” so I expected it to be spelled “-stain.”

Never read them, but have heard the name pronounced, and the -ein doesn’t groove with that (in my head, so I got it right).

I never read the 'Bears, but I know the authors from Never Trust Anyone Over 13, which I read before I was 13.

And, I pronounciate it “Bear N Stain”.

I got it right, but only because it was an issue on a Jeopardy! episode about three years ago. The contestant said “-stein” which was accepted at first but later overruled. If she had gotten it right, she would have had an extra $1200 at the end of Double Jeopardy and probably would have won the game. As it was, she lost by $201. I felt so bad for her.

As soon as I saw option #2, which I hadn’t considered, I knew I was going to vote for the wrong one! But, respecting the op’s instructions, I voted for #1 because that was my true response. Hell, I thought I was on the ball because I remembered the additional syllable: Berenstein, not Bernstein.
Wrong on both counts. Nice one!

I knew it was “Berenstain,” because I’ve always kind of thought of the books as a “stain” on children’s literature.


After Mr. Legend read a couple of these in which Papa Bear is almost criminally incompetent and stupid, he asked if we could just get rid of any that we owned (one) and discourage the reading of them to our children anywhere else. We just read a little more Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein and Maurice Sendak and the kids never missed the stupid bears and their stupid overalls. Feh.

Yeah, it’s not Beren-stine or Beren-steen, so I would have been surprised if it wasn’t spelled Berenstain.