The Berenstain Bears: The Trouble with Tryouts

Title: The Berenstain Bears: The Trouble with Tryouts
Authors and Illustrators: Stan, Jan, and Mike Berenstain
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-76783-1

“Sister learned something very important that day. Things can go from bad to worse. But they can also get better. Sometimes they can even go from bad to great,” the ending states in Stan, Jan, and Mike Berenstain’s book, The Berenstain Bear: The Trouble with Tryouts.

~ What ~
An Early Reader Chapter Book, this numbered ninety-six-page paperback targets children six to ten years old, especially those that like a short story of the well-known family of bears. With no profanity or scary scenes, it is a chapter book with a few black and white expressive illustrations. Due to some complicated wording, it would best be read out loud to beginner readers. An excerpt to another book in the series is added.

This brief tale is about small-statured Sister wanting to be on the school’s soccer team but cannot get the attention of the coach. Because of her diminutive size, the young bear is offered the job as the team’s manager, which she must pick up balls, pass out water, and collect dirty towels and uniforms. Being repeatedly bullied by older team players, she picks up the balls with a kiddie wagon and accidentally spills a bucket of water on herself. It is only when she gets angry and kicks the bucket hard that the coach acknowledges her skills and lets her play on the team where she scores the winning goal.

~ Why ~
For years, the Berenstain Bears have filled Christian homes with their wholesome, morally-promoted, and God-focused stories. I love that the books have a similar pattern of the bears facing an issue and learning to deal with it; this one concentrates on bullying and not getting everything you want instantly. The illustrations are descriptive and interesting for the age group.

~ Why Not ~
This story is not in the usual Berenstain format in that there is little reference or reliance on God as it only concentrates on one’s capabilities. A few readers may find some scenes stereotypical, such as the coach being on her cell phone and the teammates’ constant mocking. Some may not appreciate that the main character, although made fun of by her teammates, whines, contemplates revenge, and ends up being physically angry, yet she is awarded for her behavior without considering that God can deal with the bear’s attitude and actions.

~ Wish ~
Only mentioning once that the coach gives a pregame prayer, it would have been more apropos if  Sister’s parents took the time to pray with her or show her that God is there for her; this was not included, not even a Bible verse mentioned like prior books. I was disappointed that the story rewarded the protagonist for her anger by getting on the team instead of dealing with any repercussions for her outbursts.

~ Want ~
If you or your child like the Berenstain Bears series, this may be another one for the bookshelf, but I am sorry; I cannot pass it on to our six-year-old granddaughter as its undertones convey to have a tizzy fit to get your way without suggesting how God can help you when dealing with taunting peers.

Thanks to Z-Blog Squad for providing this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at

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Filed under ** Think Twice - I Didn't Like It, Book Review, Childrens, Christian

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