Tops & Bottoms

( 21 )

Overview

Hare solves his family’s problems by tricking rich and lazy Bear in this funny, energetic version of an old slave story. With roots in American slave tales, Tops & Bottoms celebrates the trickster tradition of using one’s wits to overcome hardship. “As usual, Stevens’ animal characters, bold and colorful, are delightful. . . . It’s all wonderful fun, and the book opens, fittingly, from top to bottom instead of from side to side, making it perfect for story-time ...

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Tops & Bottoms

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Overview

Hare solves his family’s problems by tricking rich and lazy Bear in this funny, energetic version of an old slave story. With roots in American slave tales, Tops & Bottoms celebrates the trickster tradition of using one’s wits to overcome hardship. “As usual, Stevens’ animal characters, bold and colorful, are delightful. . . . It’s all wonderful fun, and the book opens, fittingly, from top to bottom instead of from side to side, making it perfect for story-time sharing.”—Booklist

This title has been selected as a Common Core Text Exemplar (Grades 2-3, Stories)

Hare turns his bad luck around by striking a clever deal with the rich and lazy bear down the road.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Drawing on European and slave folk traditions, Stevens retells the tale of rich, lazy Bear, a landowner who is willing to barter work for crops with poor, enterprising Hare. Hare gets Bear to agree to split crops from top, bottom, or middle and once Bear makes his choice, Hare plants accordingly. He harvests the bottoms of carrots, radishes and beets and then the tops of lettuce, broccoli and celery. Young listeners will be captured by Steven's sense of drama and the clever Hare. The book could lead to a discussion of how Hare will outsmart Bear next, or a more general discussion of how food grows.
Children's Literature - Meredith E. Kiger
This is clever reworking of several childhood fables put into the language of the modern business world. Hare and Bear are neighbors and they decide to go into the crop raising business together. Bear is so lazy, however, that he does none of the work, and the Hare family collects the best part of the harvest (the profits). Bear complains and insists on being more fairly treated, but again does none of the work. At the next harvest, Bear's lack of attention again leaves him with the short end of the stick. Engaging illustrations add to this humorous tale of the ups and downs of partnerships and the work ethic. The format is also a nice surprise and there are great possibilities for extending the story.
Children's Literature - Sue Reichard
Hare's hungry family forces him to use his wits in order to feed them. Playing Bear like a violin, Hare suggests that if Bear donates the land, Hare will do the work and they'll split the crop. Bear must choose. Whether Bear chooses tops or bottoms, he'll lose, as Hare is in control and doing all the work. The facial expressions of the animals are delightful and the fact that the book opens vertically allows us to view all the action simultaneously. A Caldecott Honor Book, 1996.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A note states that this trickster tale has ``roots in European folktales and slave stories of the American South.'' Lazy Bear sleeps through every planting season, so conniving Hare makes a deal. He and his family will work Bear's land and split the crops in half. He'll even let Bear choose which half he wants-``tops or bottoms.'' Bear chooses tops so Hare plants root crops, leaving Bear with a useless harvest. A furious Bear insists next time he'll take bottoms so Hare plants corn, leaving empty stalks. The entertaining story is illustrated with Stevens's now familiar artwork-lively, colorful line-and-wash spreads filled with sprightly characters and humorous details. The contrast between the slumbering bear and the frantically energetic hare family is especially amusing. Unfortunately, some illustrations are marred by the placement of the boxed text. The book opens vertically rather than horizontally; while this design element is a clever complement to the growing theme, it is not completely successful. At times, the visual flow is interrupted. The narration is also somewhat awkward. Despite the obvious flaws, this title is sure to be popular with Stevens's fans and youngsters who crave ``funny books.''-Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI
Stephanie Zvirin
ges 47. Large, dynamic double-page-spread paintings are only part of the charm of this very funny picture book. Easily recognizable as a trickster tale (Stevens' source note roots the story in European folktales and slave stories of the American South), this features appealing, contemporary cousins of Brer Rabbit and Brer Bear. Here, Bear and Hare are involved in a gardening partnership, with industrious, clever Hare reaping all the vegetable profits. As usual, Stevens' animal characters, bold and colorful, are delightful. Hare, decked out in a lively gardening shirt and surrounded by mischievous offspring, is the image of determination. It's Bear, however, who wins the personality prize: he snoozes away each planting season squashed in his favorite chair, changing positions with each flip of the page. It's all wonderful fun, and the book opens, fittingly, from top to bottom instead of from side to side, making it perfect for story-time sharing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152928513
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 25,198
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 580L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.16 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

JANET STEVENS is the author and illustrator of many popular and award-winning books for children, including the Caldecott Honor Book Tops & Bottoms, the Texas Bluebonnet winner Cook-a-Doodle-Doo!, and the Texas Bluebonnet nominee And The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon. She also illustrated To Market, To Market by Anne Miranda, an ABBY Honor Book. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2007

    Tops and Bottoms

    This book is a great book for children! They need to read this book! It has a great moral to the story! In the book a family of rabbits continues to cheat a lazy bear out of food! The bear is always asked ' Tops or Bottoms'! However, no matter what he answers he still loses out! This goes to show that hard work pays off and it never pays to be lazy!This would be good for children in the 3rd grade!Stevens, Janet. Tops and Bottoms. New York, NY: Harcourt Inc, 1995.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2014

    LOVE IT!

    Very clever book for children and adults will enjoy it, too!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2012

    Book

    This is an awsome book for children to learn how to read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    Great children book that would work better in read and play format.

    Having met the author back in 2002 and used the book as part of a classroom story for third graders I enjoyed the book greatly. Unfortunately the nook did not do the book justice since it said there were only seven pages to the story and I was only able to get three of them. After looking online to purchase more books,I discovered that nook was having trouble with that particular book. Sure hope that things clear up soon.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2012

    Sghklkk

    Gh,ljdtcfcryuhuvghuby

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Te he

    Its a good book to brighten your life it teaches u a lesten..... DONT TRUST HARES

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2010

    Excellent characters!

    I used this book in my classroom to compare/ contrast characters. The students really enjoyed it. They especially liked how the author choose to orient the book in a different direction. (pages are turned from bottom to top instead of right to left)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2007

    Tops and Bottoms

    This book was a Caldecott Medal Winner in 1992. I can see why this book won the award. It is filled with colorful illustrations about a frog that wakes to find that he is flying on his lily pad. This is a picture book that has no words just times to help us track what time of night it is throughout the story. During the frogs Tuesday night adventure a man who is up late eating a snack also sees the flying frogs. The frogs are chased by a very `playful¿ dog and then the frogs turn on him and begin to pursue the dog. The next morning we see a detective examining the odd ordeal along with the ambulance and reporters. What could possibly happen next in a town like this? This is book has very creative pictures that will definitely spark the mind of a child. It is appropriate for children ages 5-8. David Wiesner is both the author and illustrator of Tuesday. He also won a Caldecott Honor Medal in 1989 for the first book he wrote called Free Fall. He was born and raised in New Jersey and graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration. He now lives in Brooklyn with his wife Kim, where he devotes full time to illustration and she pursues her career as a surgeon. Wiesner, David. Tuesday. New York: Clarion Books, 1991.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2007

    Tops and Bottoms

    This is a tale of wisdom outsmarting greed and laziness. In this very well written story we see how a very clever Hare tricks a rich, lazy Bear into letting him have the best of the crops that he is growing on Bears land. In the beginning they make a deal that Hare will plant and work the crops and at the end of the season Bear will get half the crops. Hare gives Bear first choice top half or the bottom half. The very sleepy Bear replies, ¿I¿ll take the top half, Hare. Right-tops¿. After the vegetables are gathered Hare plucked off all the tops, tossed them into a pile for Bear, and kept all the bottom halves for himself and his family. The book explains how Bear stared at the pile and said, ¿But, Hare, all the best parts are in your half!¿ ¿Now, Hare, you¿ve tricked me. You plant this field again-and this season I want the bottoms!¿ After Hare agrees, of course, another plan is thought up of how to outsmart the lazy bear. This is one of my favorite books. I love the colorful illustrations and the entertaining story that unfolds in this book. I think children will love this book. It is appropriate for children ages 5-9. I can definitely see why this book was chosen as a Caldecott Honor Book in 1996. Janet Stevens is the author and illustrator of this book and many other picture books including Harcourt Brace¿s How the Manx Cat Lost Its Tail and The Three Billy Goats Gruff. She also loves to paint vegetables of any kind. Mrs. Stevens lives with her husband and their two children in Boulder, Colorado. Stevens, Janet. Tops & Bottoms. New York: Harcourt, Inc., 1995.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2007

    Tops & Bottoms- Janet Stevens

    A hungry hare lost a bet with a turtle and now his family is suffering. Not knowing what else to do he goes to the wealthy lazy bear next door and asked to be bussiness partners. 'All we need is this field right here in front of your house. I'll do the hard work of planting and harvesting, and we can split it right down the middle. Yes, sir, Bear, we're in this together. I'll work and you sleep. So what will it be Bear?' aked the hare. 'The top half or the bottom half? It's up to you- tops or bottoms'. Well the bear choose tops and it was a done deal. The bear slept while the hare and his family went to work. Bear also slept as the crops grew. What would happen when the bear wakes up? Has the hare tricked him? All of answers are in this book. Janet Stevens wrote a great book about the importance of being independent and having the dedication to work and in the end you get what you work for. I love this story because i think that it has a wonderful meaning. This book is a second grade reading level and is suitable for kids 5-8 or even up. Stevens, Janet. TOPS&BOTTOMS. New York: Harcourt Inc,1995.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2007

    Great Book

    Janet Stevens born in 1953 in Dallas, Texas, she was a graduate of from the University of Colorado. For someone who dabbled in mostly architectural work for most off her life did a great job of writing and illustrating the book 'Tops & Bottoms' When first looking at this book I had no clue what it was going to be like and doubted the fact that I would even like it. After reading it though it became one of my favorite books because of the happy ending and the illustrations. I love how the lazy bear wasn't so lazy in the end and how the Hare and his family got back on track. Kids will love this story due to the tricks pulled by the Hare. This book would be a good discussion book in class cause the kids can have an opportunity to get a chance to guess what will happen next in the story. Its' a great book, I would recommend it to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2007

    Tops and Bottoms

    I really enjoyed this book.It helps to show that laziness doesn't get you anywhere. 'All Bear wanted to do was sleep'. So a hare took advantage of that by becoming his business partner with him. The hare said, 'I'll do all the hard work of planting and harvesting....we can split the profit....It's up to you--tops or bottoms'. The Bear would choose one or the other and then the hare would choose vegetables that would make his half come out with good, edible food. Stevens, Janet. Tops and Bottoms. New York: Harcourt Inc.,1995.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2006

    Caldecott Tops and Bottoms

    Janet Stevens, known for her funny animal characters and paintings of vegetables, does an amazing job of writing and illustrating ¿Tops and Bottoms¿. This book is about a lazy, wealthy bear and a family of hares. One day the hare outwits the bear by making a deal. He tells him, ¿¿we can be business partners¿all we need is this field right here in front of your house¿so what will it be bear, tops or bottoms?¿ This book is aimed toward five to eight year olds and I myself loved it and would recommend it to anyone. Janet Stevens was born in Dallas, Texas to a Navy family. She lived in many different cities as a child. Since she began writing she has had many award winning books, this one included. Stevens, Janet. Tops and Bottoms. Orlando: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1995.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2006

    Life lesson

    This is a story about hard work. A bear is lazy and does not work for anything he has. A Hare talks him into sharing his land and letting him plant a crop. Bear says that he will take the ¿tops.¿ Each time the crop comes in Bear gets the bad end of the deal. So he changes from, ¿tops¿ to ¿bottoms¿ but he still gets the bad end of the deal. In the end he decides not to sleep so much anymore and to actually do his work. The Hare is able to have food and starts a business.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2006

    Tops & Bottoms

    Tops & Bottoms is a Caldecott Honor Book. This is a very cute book. The sleepy old bear is always a sleep. The hare outsmarted the sleepy bear several times. Will the bear ever figure out what hare is doing to him? Bear said, ¿ Now, Hare, you¿ve tricked me.¿ This book is very funny and helps to show responsibility. Sleeping will not get you anywhere. You have to pay attention to whats going on around you. This book would be suitable for grades K-5. It is considered to be a folklore book. Janet Stevens lived in Dallas, Texas. Her father was in the Navy so they moved around a lot. She illustrates and writes most of her books. Stevens said that she only writes children¿s books. Stevens, Janet. Tops & Bottoms. New York: Harcourt, Inc., 1995.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2006

    Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevenes

    The book starts off as a rich and lazy bear. Up the road is Hare and Mrs.Hare that are two rabits that had liitle land and many children. Read this book to find out what Hare and Mrs.Hare plan for Bear, and how they change.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2012

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