Berenstain Bears Get Religion
New series, with app, centers on Christian themes
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2010 5:38 PM CDT
Updated Oct 17, 2010 7:57 AM CDT
File photo of a previous Berenstain Bears book; it's not part of the new series.   (AP Photo/Random House Children's Books)

(Newser) – Ian Crouch was pretty happy to see that his beloved Berentain Bears have the best-selling book app in the iPhone App Store. Then he noticed that Mama, Papa, Brother, and Sister Bear had gotten a lot more religious. With titles like The Berenstain Bears Say Their Prayers and The Berenstain Bearts Go to Sunday School, this new version of the family had "become practicing Christians!" he writes at the New Yorker.

The old bears were always about values, but they weren't all that preachy about it. "They could be mean-spirited, selfish, territorial, and gluttonous (they’re bears after all), but by the end of each book, they would redeem themselves—restored to their better selves by the steadying influence of trusty humanist values and good cheer. God never seemed to have anything to do with it," writes Crouch. Now with Christian publisher Zondervan in the mix, it's a different story. He hopes Random House, which still publishes the older books, will come out with its own app soon.