The Wife and I were lucky enough to have a date night recently. We decided to go see a movie together. There wasn't anything playing at our local cinema that either of us was crazy about, but we'd heard some good things about the new Reese Witherspoon movie "This Means War" and figured it was worth a shot. It turned out to be pretty entertaining and funny. But seeing Reese Witherspoon reminded me of something that had been in the back of my mind for some time.
The Little Monster still enjoys being read to at bedtime (and I still enjoy reading to her). One of our favorite series of books to read is The Berenstain Bears. I never really read these books much as a kid myself, but have found them to be some of the best stories to read to The Little Monster. I think I enjoy them nearly as much as she does! I've written about The Berenstain Bears once before in The Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw.
It would be difficult to pick a favorite Berenstain Bears book, but some of the ones we've read regularly in the past have included The Berenstain Bears' Trouble at School, The Berenstain Bears Don't Pollute (any More), The Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat, and The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Grown-ups. And a definite favorite of ours is The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Dream. And this is the one that caused two seemingly unrelated events (a date night with The Wife and reading bedtime stories to The Little Monster) to become forever intertwined.
There are a few reasons why I personally like The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Dream. They do a good job of explaining what a nightmare is, and like usual, it's just a good story. The best thing about the book for me though is that a big part of the story revolves around Brother Bear and his love for a line of action figures and accessories called Space Grizzlies.
It reminds me a lot of he toys I'd play with as a boy growing up in the 1970s and 80s--especially my Star Wars action figures and toys. Here's one of my actual Storm Troopers from way back then:
And here's an Imperial Scout from "Return of the Jedi" holding this very same Storm Trooper last year during Star Wars Day at the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, MA:
Anyway, back to the story. So Brother Bear is smitten with these Space Grizzlies, but Sister Bear doesn't like them because she finds them scary. Brother convinces her to play with him and his Space Grizzlies after some negotiations, and later he goes to see the new Space Grizzlies movie (while Sister opts for a movie about a ballerina called "The Magic Toeshoes" instead). Eventually Sister has a nightmare that involves the Space Grizzlies and many other things she'd recently been doing. She runs into Mama and Papa Bear's room and while they are comforting her Brother has his own Space Grizzlies nightmare.
It's during the part where Mama and Papa are consoling Sister that I noticed a certain resemblance between her and Reese Witherspoon. Now, we've read a lot of Berenstain Bears books, and I've never thought that Sister Bear looked like Reese Witherspoon (or any other celebrity for that matter) before. It's just in this one picture where she's making a pensive face that I see it. The very first time we read this book a few years back I saw the resemblance And now I can't NOT see it whenever we read the story. I don't know if it's her eyes, her hair, her mouth, her chin or just her expression, but I do see it. I may be crazy, or I just may be onto something. Here's a closer look:
Here are some examples of Reese and Sister side-by-side. Judge for yourself:
The expression is different,
but the look is there
This is a little closer
Not too bad
And, finally, here's a look at Reese in "This Means War" (from the photo above), to kind of tie the whole thing together.
In a strange bit of timing, I just found out that Jan Berenstain (who authored the Berenstain Bears books with her husband Stan) just recently died on February 25, 2012. I didn't even know she was still alive, but now am saddened to hear she died. Here's her obituary: