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Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens
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Tops & Bottoms (1995)

by Janet Stevens

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The first thing I noticed when I opened the book was it was not written in the typical way other books are. I found the way we read the book to go along with the title and the storyline. I think this book has a good moral to it that children should learn, hard work pays off. It also teaches children about different types of vegetables and how they grow.
  nicholew | May 31, 2014 |
This folktale has roots from Europe and slave stories from the American South. It is about beating hardship by using one's wits. It has the mythical element by having animals that talk and own land and money. It is also humorous. The artwork is beautiful with sweeping movement and solid colors. The book also doesn't read read left to right by top to bottom...clever huh? A cute story and a good read.
  ediekm1990 | May 17, 2014 |
Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens. Illustrated by Janet Stevens. Published by Scholastic. Copy right 1995. pg. 31

Type of Book: Picture book

Summary: There was a very lazy bear that was wealthy and had plenty of land. But all he did all the time was sleep. Under the ground Hare was in a pickle and needed some money and a way to feed his family. He lost all his land to Tortoise. So Hare went to Bear's house and asked him to be business partners. Hare would plant the crops out in front of Bear's house and Bear would just sleep. Hare asked Bear if he wanted tops or bottoms, Bear said tops. Hare and his family went to work planting and watering crops. When it was time to harvest Hare woke up Bear and told him he gave him the tops which were plucked from the carrots, beets and radishes. Bear was upset and told Hare to replant because he wanted the bottoms. So Hare replanted and Bear slept. When it was time to harvest again Hare woke up Bear and Hare gathered the tops of the lettuce, broccoli and celery. He than pulled off the bottoms and threw them in Bear's pile. Bear was once again upset and told Hare he wanted both tops and bottoms. Hare went back to planting and Bear went back to sleep. It was time to harvest again and Hare woke Bear up. Hare pulled off the roots at the bottom and the tassels at the top of the corn and put them in a pile for Bear. Hare told Bear that he got the middles and Bear got the tops and bottoms like promised. Bear was very upset and he decided to plant his own crops from now on. Bear never again slept through a session of planting.

Response: This was a very cute book. It shows a good lesson for children. It shows that you can't sleep through everything. You have to do things yourself so you know you are not getting cheated and do not let someone out smart you. The illustrations in this children's book was very good too.
  singleton2012 | Mar 4, 2014 |
Summary:

Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens is a very well written book that teaches a good lesson hard work. This book is about a lazy but wealthy bear who is taken advantage of by a hardworking hare who is down on his luck. The hare offers to plant veggies and do all the work while the bear sleeps in exchange for splitting the veggies. Well, each time the hare plants the veggies he gives the bear the choice between the top or the bottoms and after the bear picks the hare plants veggies that will benefit him more. He does this several times until finally the bear get frustrated enough from getting nothing but the scrap parts of the plants that he decides to quit being lazy and plant his garden himself.

Personal reaction to the book:

This book has been added to my favorites list. The illustrations were awesome and I loved how the pages read from top to bottom rather then side to side, it added a unique element to the book. I also really liked the farming aspect. I would definitely recommend this book to others.

Extension Ideas:

1. I would use this book to teach my students about responsibility & hard work.
2. I would also use this book to introduce growing veggies to my students and might even plant the veggies in the classroom to see how they grow to have a hands on learning experience and to show them about hard work and being responsible for their own plant. ( )
  AngelaBates | Feb 12, 2014 |
Summary
Tops & Bottoms is about a very wealthy bear that likes to sleep. His neighbor, Hare, lost a bet and sold all of his land to bear. One day Hare had the idea to become business partners with Bear and start a garden. Hare told Bear that he would do all of the work and all bear had to do was sleep. Bear agreed to the deal. Hare tricked Bear three different harvest seasons which made Bear very angry. Bear decided to harvest his own garden from then on. Hare and his family opened up a vegetable stand. They made enough money to buy back their land from Bear. Bear and Hare remained neighbors but never again business partners.

Personal Reaction
The first thing I noticed about the book was that it was not written like a normal book. This book is meant to be read up and down instead of from left to right which makes this book really stand out. The illustrations are very realistic.

Classroom Extension Ideas
1. In my classroom, I could use this book to teach my students that hard work pays off.
2. In my classroom, I could use this book to teach my students about gardening and where vegetables come from.
  shellbierose | Feb 11, 2014 |
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Once upon a time there lived a very lazy bear who had lots of money and lots of land.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0152928510, Hardcover)

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)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:10 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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

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