Berenstain Bears Author Dies at 82

Berenstain Bears Author Dies at 82
Dan Loh/AP

11/29/2005 AT 03:00 PM EST

Children's author Stan Berenstain, who with his wife wrote more than 200 books about a family of bears, has died at age 82.

He passed away on Saturday in Pennsylvania, Audra Boltion, a spokeswoman for HarperCollins Children's Books, tells the Associated Press.

The Berenstain Bears books, written by Stan and his wife Jan Berenstain, helped children cope with trips to the dentist, eating junk food and cleaning their messy rooms. The first of their bear books, The Great Honey Hunt, was published in 1962.

The pair began drawing together when they "met in Miss Sweeny's drawing class on the first day of art school at Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art in 1941," according to their Web site. The couple developed the series with Theodor Geisel – better known as Dr. Seuss – who then headed children's publishing at Random House.

Stan and Jan married soon after he got out of World War II-era Army service and began submitting cartoons to magazines, according to AP. While Stan served in the military, Jan did engineering drawing for military contractors and worked as a riveter in an aircraft factory. The couple eventually got into the book business when an editor at a New York publishing house, who had seen their magazine cartoons, asked if they would like to do a book.

The couple's sons, Leo and Michael, joined their parents in creating the books, and many of the recent works are credited collectively to "The Berenstains." The characters have also starred on public TV, in DVDs and in a Christmas musical.

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