reported that Mike Berenstain said his mother, who lived in Pennsylvania, suffered a severe stroke on Thursday and died Friday without regaining consciousness.
The Berenstain Bears website
states that the Berenstains spent two months writing and illustrating the manuscript of their first children’s book, which they planned to call "Freddy Bear's Sparking." They ended up having to complete four drafts.
"Our modest dream of doing a funny book about a family of bears who lived in a tree was turning into a walking nightmare," they wrote.
They ended up creating a story from one sequence in the original story, and "The Big Honey Hunt" was published in 1962. More than 300 titles have now been released in 23 languages, entertaining and helping many children cope with issues in their lives.
In a Scholastic
interview Jan Berenstain explained why the bears had their name.
"That wasn't our decision. The first book we did was called The Big Honey Hunt. We didn't call them The Berenstain Bears. Our editor was Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel). When we did the second book, it was called The Bike Lesson, and Dr. Seuss put on the cover The Second Adventure of the Berenstain Bears. So it was Dr. Seuss who named them, not us."
She said that some of the stories were based on things from their own lives, such as teaching their first son to ride a bicycle, taking their children to the doctor, and becoming new parents.
Stan Berenstain died in 2005 at the age of 82.
Jan Berenstain had still been working on books at the time of her death and her son Mike, who had been working with her, said he will continue to write and illustrate future Berenstain books.