Creators of Berenstain Bears books release autobiography

— Since moving into their treehouse deep in Bear Country 40 years ago, the Berenstain Bears have helped children cope with first trips to the dentist, new siblings, summer camp and messy rooms.

Now, with the release of their autobiography, authors Stan and Jan Berenstain want to share a few firsts of their own � from their first college art class together to the early meetings with Dr. Seuss that grew into more than 200 books featuring the Berenstain Bears.

"Down a Sunny Dirt Road" initially alternates chapters between Stan and Jan as they unspool stories about their childhoods in Philadelphia during the Depression, and their admiration of each other's drawing at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art. Their narrative voices blend as they become a writing and illustrating team with their marriage after Stan's return from service in World War II.

The publication of "Down a Sunny Dirt Road," due out Tuesday, coincides with the 40th anniversary of the first Berenstain Bears book, "The Great Honey Hunt," in 1962.

The Berenstains, both 79, honed their family friendly humor drawing cartoons for The Saturday Evening Post, McCalls and Colliers.

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