Jan Berenstain, co-creator of the beloved children’s book series “The Berenstain Bears,” died in Pennsylvania on Feb. 24 after suffering a severe stroke, the AP reports.
Berenstain and her husband, Stan, who died in 2005, wrote and illustrated the books for more than 50 years. The series followed Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Brother Bear and Sister Bear and taught lessons to preschoolers about everything from sharing to going to the dentist.
The couple’s kids and grandchildren inspired the stories, the first of which, “The Big Honey Hunt,” was published in 1962 thanks to the help of Random House children’s books editor Theodor Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss).
“They say jokes don’t travel well, but family humor does,” said Berenstain told the AP in 2011. “Family values is what we’re all about.”
Berenstain’s son Mike tells the AP he and his brother will continue the family business by writing and illustrating more Berenstain Bears books. The Berenstain Bears have also spawned a PBS Kids TV series and an upcoming big-screen adaptation.