Janice Berenstain, passed away last Friday at age 88 after suffering a stoke in Solebury, PA. Her collaborator and husband Stanley died of lymphoma six years earlier. The two met at Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art at age 18 and married five years later.
They wrote and illustrated over 300 children’s books, putting their work in a league beside other mammal-themed hits like Norman Bridwell’s Clifford The Big Red Dog and Jean de Brunhoff’s Babar.
Funnily enough, the Berenstains have ties with another author legend, Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) who was editor-in-chief for Random House when the Bears were pitched in 1960.
After their first book (The Big Honey Hunt) was published in 1962, Lorax legend Geisel wanted them to switch from bears to some other animal because there were “too many” already existing in pop culture, but when the titles started selling well he changed his tune.
Janice (maiden name Grant) is survived by her two sons, Michael and Leo, and four grandchildren.