PHILADELPHIA -- Stan Berenstain, who with his wife wrote and illustrated the Berenstain Bear books, which helped millions of children cope with trips to the dentist, the first day of school, and getting new siblings, has died.
Mr. Berenstain, 82, died Saturday in suburban Philadelphia from complications with cancer, said Kate Jackson of HarperCollins Children's Books in New York.
The idea for the series was conceived in 1960 after Mr. Berenstain read a New Yorker magazine profile on a Random House editor, Theodor Geisel, who was launching a line of books for young readers.
The Berenstains sought out the man better known as Dr. Seuss, taking with them what they called ''a bad imitation of Ogden Nash."
Geisel looked at the slim manuscript that would become ''The Big Honey Hunt" two years later and said, ''This is going to be a great book," Mr. Berenstain told the Los Angeles Times in 1995.
Without consulting them, Geisel shortened their names from Stanley and Janice to Stan and Jan to make them rhyme and slapped the phrase ''Berenstain Bears" on covers. The moves were credited with making the books easy to market, and nearly 300 million copies have been sold.
''Stan Berenstain was a man of great humor and a generous spirit. He helped define children's publishing as we know it today," Jackson said in a statement. ''It's the end of an era."
The books aimed to show children -- and their parents -- how to deal with a long list of childhood challenges, from finding ways to share and watch less television, to overcoming the ''gimmies" and not succumbing to the ''in" crowd.
The series eventually expanded to include television specials, an interactive website, DVDs and a Christmas musical. Despite changes in society in the last four decades, much stayed the same in ''Bears Country."
''Kids still tell fibs and they mess up their rooms and they still throw tantrums in the supermarket," Stan Berenstain told the Associated Press in 2002. ''Nobody gets shot. No violence. There are problems, but they're the kind of typical family problems everyone goes through."
Stan and Jan Berenstain began drawing together when they met at Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art in 1941.
The two married after he got out of World War II-era Army service and began submitting cartoons to magazines. They became contributors to The Saturday Evening Post, McCalls, and Collier's. The couple wrote the ''All in the Family" cartoon series for McCall's and Good Housekeeping.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Berenstain leaves his two sons.
Material from the Los Angeles Times was used in this obituary.