I can see why some people really hate these books because it is clear that poor Papa Bear is the butt of all the jokes and just seems to do the opposite of what is considered wise. He likes to do things the quick and easy way, which ends up causing him more problems than not. However I can't help but agree with him that you have not camped out until you've slept in a cave (though I cannot remember if I've ever slept in a cave in my many adventures out bush).
What appeals to me is that I used to be a cub-scout when I was much younger and as such I liked any book (and movie) that involved the scouts. Mind you, I ended up being a pretty shocking scout (I didn't even get my Campcraft badge) and ended up dropping out, which is a bit of a shame because you can actually learn quite a lot of survival skills which you generally do not learn all that much any more (though from what I can remember, most, if not all, of my survival skills were learnt from scouts).
The interesting thing about the scouts is that the founder, Baden Powell, was a soldier in the Boar War. I remember when I was a kid that I believed that by joining the scouts one is preparing themselves for a job in the military. Okay, thanks the the plethora of Hollywood movies involving special forces operatives, a life in the military can seem quite sexy. In reality it is not, as some soldiers have attested to. What scouts teaches you is discipline and the respect for authority. The problem with the military is that respect for authority means that you jump up and say 'yes sir' whenever you are given a command, whether that command be right or wrong. As such you may end up being forced into an act that is not only wrong, but is also quite possibly a breach of human rights.
As for this book: I loved this book as a kid (probably because it involved scouts). Some people seem to be put off by the way that Papa Bear is always the but of the jokes, and acts like such a buffoon, but I guess that is a part of the fun. As a kid I never looked at my father as a buffoon (though I did rebel against him, as us teenagers are prone to do – though I would not say that it was because I read Berenstain Bears books). I guess I have more problems with Mister Dog than I have with this book.