“The more you read, the more you know; and the more you know, the smarter you grow.”
-Jim Trelease

This blog is ALL about childrens literature from non-fiction to fantasy and everything inbetween..so sit back and skim through the reviews, then go pick up a book a read!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tops and Bottoms
Author: Janet Stevens
Publisher: Harcourt Brace and Co.
Copyright: 1995
Pages: 32
Reading Level: 2
Genre: Picture Book
Rating: *****

Bear is lazy. His father being a business man had given Bear all his money, but all Bear wanted to do was sleep, all the time! Now Hare, Hare had lost a bet to a tortoise and had to sell all his land to Bear to pay off the debt. But Hare and his family had no money, and the kids were starving so they come up with a plan. The next day Hare and his wife went to Bear, they said that they would plant, harvest and do all the work on the far, if they could just use Bears land. Then when the crops were all ready to harvest they would spilt it 50/50. Bear agreed and Hare and his family went to work, with the condition that Bear would get the top half of everything. So Hare and his family worked and worked and harvest came. So Hare and his family pulled up all the carrot, radishes, and beets. Giving all the tops to Bear and keeping all the bottoms. Now Bear knew he had been tricked and he ordered Hare to plant again, this time he would be bottoms and Hare would be tops. So once again they go to work and harvest comes and they wake Bear up. Then they split all the harvest into tops and bottoms. Hare taking all the lettuce, broccoli, and celery and giving all the bottoms to Bear. Now Bear was even more upset because he had been ticked again. Once more he ordered Hare to plant the crops but this time he wanted tops AND bottoms. Again Hare and his family went to work and Bear went back to sleep. Harvest came, and they brought in what they had planted, Hare keeping the corn (the middle) and giving Bear everything on top and bottom as he ordered. Now Bear was really awake and told Hare that he would do the planting and harvesting himself and keep all the tops, bottoms and middles! Bear never slept through another planting season and Hare was able to buy his land back from the profits of his crops. Bear and Hare lived just fine as neighbors from them on, but never would they become business partners again.

Who would benefit from reading this?
Kids would benefit from this book. It is a great lesson about the value of work, and doing it yourself. A fun book because unlike most that you read from left to right, this one you read from top to bottom. Great pictures and a fun/funny story, you have to appreciate the wit of the Hare.

Potential problems/conflicts:
A problem with this book could be that it might give the impression that it is okay to trick people for your own financial gain. Which it most definitely is not!

My reaction:
I loved this book. Each time the Hare went to work I was guessing what he would plant. When the Bear said he wanted tops and bottom, I thought the Hare was going to get his payback, but sure enough he outsmarted the Bear and me. This book has great artwork, so pictures even continue right off the page. A fun read for kids and adults alike.

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