No Girls Allowed Review – The Berenstain Bears series

No Girls Allowed Review – The Berenstain Bears series

I don’t know if we are raising Little B in a different way or if nature made her this way, but yeah, she is different. Or maybe it is just one of those things that every parent in the world feels about their child. Maybe all of the children in the world are different in some way. And that is where this book becomes special.

A while back, Little B was going through a “rough patch” at school. The term “rough patch” might seem like an exaggeration when being used for a 5-year-old, but the truth is their problems are as real as ours.

So as it happened, she had a so-called group with two boys who she was playing with in school. They were more like three musketeers doing things together, even getting scolded together. They were even together in couple of extra-curricular activities.

One day Little B came home and told me that the two boys have asked her to leave the group because they were now going to “form a Transformers’ group and Little B being girl cannot be in it.” She was heartbroken, her friends for months now were suddenly not her friends anymore. She was also confused as to they are not allowing her to be in a “Transformers’ group?”

Just a few days after this incident, we found No Girls Allowed of the Berenstain Bears series in the library. There could have been nothing more perfect that this.

No Girls Allowed review

No Girls Allowed starts with Brother bear and his friends playing amicably with the Sister bear. As the story progresses, Brother bear and his friends are annoyed by Sister bear and so exclude her from their club putting a “No Girls Allowed” sign outside their club house. Sister bear is angry and so is Papa bear. However, Mama bear advises wisely and tells her it is not essentially about whether someone is a boy or a girl, but about how someone plays the game. Mama bear also recommends her to go ahead and make her own club with bears that want to be her friends. At the end of the story when Sister bear was having a cookout at her club, Brother bear and his friends come to join in. Instead of being mean to them, Sister bear decides to Brother bear and his friends in their fun. Brother bear and his friends too take down their “No Girls Allowed” sign and instead put a “Girls Welcome” sign outside their club house.

Berenstain Bears No Girls Allowed Review

The book is based on the predictable behaviour that kids of this age group display. They start making separate “boys” and “girls” group and the talk of “girls cannot do that” and “boys cannot do this” too crops up. This behaviour is natural as this helps them identify their gender. However, too much of this behaviour can hamper children’s personal growth as they will always be doing one single thing.

As the book rightly points out that it is not about whether someone is a boy or a girl, it is about how someone plays the game.

Berenstain Bears review

Another thing that I liked about the book is, after Sister bear is excluded from the boys’ club, she has a talk with her mother and then she goes ahead and make new friends. I pointed the same to Little B and told her to go ahead and be friends with other who truly want to be her friends. After all friendship cannot be imposed.

The illustrations of the book are colourful and explain the story well. Illustrations also give a lot of subtle information about the story.

However, the text written on the pages is too much for kids to read themselves. The prose is also not really read-aloud friendly as well; it doesn’t sound smooth when I read it out to Little B. This is problem for almost all books of the Berenstain Bears series.

The gender-identity issue in the book can be interpreted in multiple ways. At times I felt that the Mama-Papa bears are encouraging Sister bear to be what she really is, at other times I felt as if they are asking her to tone down herself.

The best part of the book was in the illustrations. Sister bear is shown playing the running and climbing and hitting the ball games.  Sister bear is also shown playing the chase the butterfly and tea party games. Sister bear is also shown playing nature discovery, rope ladder and spy glass kind of game.  The reason I liked it was because that is how I Little B is, and that is how I want her to stay – not compartmentalized in whether a thing is for boys or girls, and instead trying out and learning whatever is out there to try and learn.

No Girls Allowed review

Have you read the book? Which one is your favourite book in the Berenstain Bears series?

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