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Episode 161 – Count Their Blessings!

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When is a story *not* a story? When it’s TWO stories! Elana joins me to discuss these two stories and how they don’t really add up or connect or ever speak to each other in “The Berenstain Bears Count Their Blessings.” Does the beginning of the book forget about itself? Does the thunderstorm make the cubs forget about toys? Are there poor people in Bear Country? Who knows?! We sure don’t!

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Episode 159 – The [REDACTED] [REDACTED] and Too Much [REDACTED]

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My collectors are back! Brad Mariska and Jeremy Gloff have joined me to discuss a book that is the worst thing and that should not exist. “The Berenstein Bears and Too Much Tequila” is dumb, bad and dumb and bad and I hate it. I hate it. I hate that I’m even discussing it in a public forum. I hate it. Enjoy!

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Episode 155 – The G-Rex Bones!

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This week, I’m joined by Erin Ayers – one half of the Over the Table Top podcast – to discuss a tale of fraud and dinosaurs. It’s “The Berenstain Bears and the G-Rex Bones!” How far will Ralph go to secure a million dollars? Pretty far! Will he sell out his own personal values and ruin the reputation of a fine upstanding bear like Actual Factual? Sure! Will any of this plot make a lick of sense? Nope!

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Episode 154 – The Missing Merit Badges & The Search for Naughty Ned

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Ollie is back, my partner in crime from It’s Del Toro Time! and we’re talking about . . . something. What even are these? It’s the first two Merit Badge Mysteries “The Missing Merit Badges” and “The Search for Naughty Ned” and, well, animals talk? Dr. Mr. Wide Old Owl? Naughty Ned? It’s clear we’re in a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CONTINUITY AGAIN. Oh well.

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Episode 153 – The Evil Eye!

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When is a book NOT a book? When it’s a sequel to a book YOU’VE NEVER READ! Yes, this week I discover the peril of not knowing which book comes after which as I delve into the second part of an apparent two-parter that isn’t actually that difficult to understand; it’s a book for children. It’s “The Berenstain Bear Scouts and the Evil Eye!”

Joining me to talk about this confounding book is the completely confounded founder of the celebrated Twitter account Best of NextDoor, Jenn Takahashi! Jenn is confused by everything going on, but that’s fine because she has been mentioned in an article in The Atlantic and have the Berenstains? Well, yes actually. They have on a number of occasions. Still, Jenn has been mentioned MOST RECENTLY!

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Episode 152 – The Perfect Crime (Almost)!

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This week, Jamie Tyler, author of the “Cowabloga” Ninja Turtles blog, is BACK to talk about the most convoluted, frustrating, fascinating and satisfyingly unsatisfying Big Chapter Book I’ve read in a while: “The Berenstain Bears and the Perfect Crime (Almost)!” Yes, get that parenthetical in there; it’s important. Jamie and I work ourselves up to a fever pitch as nothing makes sense, adds up or resolves in any way resembling logical or even dramatically resonant. It’s amazing. And I love it.

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Episode 151 – “Too Much Teasing” and “The Love Match!”

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Boy oh boy! Milton Chubb! Who is Milton Chubb, you ask? Only the strangest cub introduced in these here books. He’s introduced TWICE actually, in “Too Much Teasing” and in “The Love Match.” Two different formats that tell essentially the same story but in wildly different ways and for wildly different reasons.

To commemorate this event, I’ve brought John McCoy – host of the Sophomore Lit podcast and my co-host on Klickitcast: A Beverly Cleary Podcast – onto the show to try and suss out the point of these two books. Does the first one teach us anything about teasing? Why are Too-Tall and his gang so bad at it? Does Milton have parents, really? Do pigs have armpits? Who knows?! Not us!