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He Bear, She Bear

(The Berenstain Bears Bright & Early)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  2,393 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Young girls and boys can be anything they want to be--regardless of gender--in this empowering and fun Berenstain Bears board book!

We'll jump and dig and build and fly
There's nothing that we cannot try.
We can do all these things, you see,
Whether we are he or she!

With sturdy pages for little hands and inspiring, simple text, this board book is the perfect gift for toddlers
Board Book, 24 pages
Published August 17th 1999 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published 1974)
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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,393 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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I fully expected to hate this book based on the title. It did go into gender, but then it basically said that any bear he or she can do any job pretty much. He’s could do any job and She’s could do any job. That won me over right there. It does go about simplifying gender. I think most people are now aware that there is a 3rd option. There is intersexed, transgendered and gender non binary. But, back in the 70s people didn’t think of that as an option so it’s good to see how things have changed. ...more
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015, storybook
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. It did do a decent job of showing little girls that they could grow up and take on so-called 'traditionally male jobs.'

However, the book largely failed on the other side of the story. There were very few examples showing boys how they could grow up to take on so-called 'traditionally female' roles.

The glaring omission also teaches a message to children, one that starkly contrasts with the message of equality that the book purports to convey, an
Jordan Lee
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
He Bear She Bear gives the brother and sister bears a chance to see all the things in life that they could someday be. They look at each other and notice that “we are he and she.” This is the basis of the rest of the story. They go around town and see all the different jobs that the townspeople have. These jobs range from painter to construction worker. They also see different activities that happen around town as well. These activities include playing in a band or jumping on the trampoline. The ...more
Alison Diem
Read this to my kid this weekend, and I give them credit- they were trying to break gender stereotypes related to employment and careers.

However, the focus on gender binarism was uncomfortable for me, as it is not something that I agree with. If you believe that gender is NOT binary, this is probably not the book for you.
I have been a huge fan of the Berenstain Bears since the early 80s (completely dating myself here), and enjoy reading the different books in the vast Series, however I would have liked this book better if it didn't perpetuate perceived gender roles.

My nephew giggled over the rhyming text and overall enjoyed my reading this to him.
N.E. Johnson
Jul 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Yesterdays gender progress is todays gender normative.
Sep 06, 2015 rated it liked it
As a beginning reader, this work struggles some when it comes to providing children with repeat vocabulary and sight words. This is aimed at readers with a very good grasp at vocabulary and, truthfully, seemed more interested in expressing the idea of gender equality than encouraging emerging reading. In many ways it is successful in showing children how they can grow up to tackle any kind of job, though seems more successful in showing young girls how they can tackle traditional male roles. The ...more
Eric Wurm
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This dramatic coming-of age story details the sexual encounters of teen bears who are confused and hormonally frustrated. Having noticed an intense desire to mash their genitalia together, they seek the help of a Catholic priest who is only too willing to offer "ASSistance". The now bowlegged and tearful bears waddle home with a vow of silence having been threatened with damnation. Only as adults do they finally have the courage to sue the opprobrious church, who send the offending clergyman to ...more
May 14, 2011 rated it liked it
I liked this as a beginning reader book, not a board book. Natalie wanted to read it, until I would get about two pages in. Then she lost interest every time. But, as a book for an early reader, I think its great. Lots of sight words, helpful illustrations to work with the harder words. Repetition of the same words a couple times for either confidence or practice. The gender equality theme worked, too.
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not the best Berenstain Bear book, but one of my daughter's favorites when she was 4. Now she is almost 15, but I made her and her 9 year-old brother listen to the book today in memory of Jan Berenstain's passing. I have many wonderful memories of reading the Berenstain Bear books over and over again. Thanks Jan, for all the wonderful times you brought my children at bedtime. You will be missed.
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: different-jobs
I love this book. Great pictures, bright colors funny characters, Teaches the kids that they can do anything they put their mine to. Boys and girls can be anything they want to be. My babies love this book so that sometimes I have to read it 3 or 4 times a day.

Bring parents with different jobs; like doctor, construction worker, or any other .
Also pictures of different people doing different jobs.
Apr 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beginning readers and parents reading with their children
Shelves: childrens, 2009
A great book for beginning readers. It has a Dr. Seuss like rhythm to it with rhyming narrative and some repetitive verses. It strongly emphasizes that anyone, regardless of gender, can aspire to any number of careers. The illustrations are classic Berenstain Bears and it's great for young readers.
Hope Johnson
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book that expresses to kids that yes we are all either boys or girls BUT girls and boys can do all the same things. I think instilling this idea into children is very important because biases can be created early, and once created they are hard to break. Teaching children that boys and girls are equal are very important.
Lauren Brown
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pre-2000
He Bear, She Bear uses the infamous Berenstain Bears to talk about the controversial issue of gender roles. This book is clearly ahead of its time (written in 1974). The book explains that a male or female can be whatever they want to be and are not restricted to a particular job just because of their gender. A great book for kids!
Jennifer Heise
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is one of the good, short, and not too moralizing Berenstain books, with a nice strong rhythym. Of course its underpinning message is that other than 'mother' and 'father' there's no job that is gender segregated, but it would be a fun read with children who are just tuning into the difference between gender pronouns (and gender divisions).
My son liked it.
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book. It basically summed up the differences in what men and women are. Men can be dads and women can be moms. Beyond that, men and women can do anything they want. They had a ton of jobs they went through which are usually dominated by one gender and put the opposite gender as the workers. I was pretty pleased overall with it.
Miss Pippi the Librarian
The Berenstains offer up a plethora of careers and ideas for children to do when they grow up. They jobs range from construction to parenting to knitting to flying. There is nothing you cannot do whether you are a he or a she.

2015 Storytime Theme: Community Helpers

Reviewed from a library copy.
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I kept from when I was younger, I read it to my kids a lot, and I really love it. It has an uplifting story line giving your young ones the message that they can do anything they want when they are older.
Ashley Gibson
Oct 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I thought the book was a great book for young kids. I liked that it taught that it didn't matter whether you were a girl or boy, that you could be anything that you wanted to be with hard work and a dream.
Robert J
Jan 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great book for introducing young children that they can be whatever they want to be whether they "are he or she." Sadly Stan and Jan Berenstain are no longer with us but their wonderful children's books remain.
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Let's face it, you write a book about gender and it'll make someone really angry. I think this book did a good job of just saying both genders can do almost every job (but dads are hes and moms are she).
Dec 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A childhood favorite, and still loved. Great illustration of full equality without the nastiness or drama that so often happens.
Aug 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-to-caden
Pretty good. Lots of details in the pictures. I think I've just read it one too many times. :-)
Angela Barakat
I read this with both my children.
Apr 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned to read from this book.
May 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
My kids love all the Berenstain Bears books, and they don't realize there are important lessons in each story.
Jul 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: dan, tom, to-a-child, 20-times
Mysteriously appeared after Danny's birthday party. Pronouns and politically correct discussion of careers.
Jul 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Mysteriously appeared after Danny's birthday party. Pronouns and politically correct discussion of careers.
Jul 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Mysteriously appeared after Danny's birthday party. Pronouns and politically correct discussion of careers.
Dec 02, 2011 rated it liked it
berenstain bears are great beginning books for early readers
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Stan and Jan Berenstain (often called The Berenstains) were American writers and illustrators best known for creating the children's book series the Berenstain Bears. Their son Mike joined them as a creative team in the late 1980s. ...more

Other books in the series

The Berenstain Bears Bright & Early (9 books)
  • Inside, Outside, Upside Down (Berenstain Bears)
  • Bears on Wheels
  • Old Hat, New Hat
  • The Berenstains' B Book (Bright & Early Books)
  • Bears in the Night
  • C is for Clown
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