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Tops & Bottoms PDF, ePub eBook

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Tops & Bottoms

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Tops & Bottoms PDF, ePub eBook 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 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)

30 review for Tops & Bottoms

  1. 5 out of 5

    Calista

    Hare’s are very smart. This fable is saying, don’t sleep through harvest; you have to work to reap anything. Here’s the part that isn’t really fair. Hare made a bad investment with rabbit and he had to sell off his land to bear so he could pay off the debt to rabbit. So that is all his fault. Does that mean it’s now ok to trick bear who simply bought the land? Anyway, that’s not the story. Bear’s father worked hard, but now bear just sleeps. He sleeps through the growing season. One day Hare come Hare’s are very smart. This fable is saying, don’t sleep through harvest; you have to work to reap anything. Here’s the part that isn’t really fair. Hare made a bad investment with rabbit and he had to sell off his land to bear so he could pay off the debt to rabbit. So that is all his fault. Does that mean it’s now ok to trick bear who simply bought the land? Anyway, that’s not the story. Bear’s father worked hard, but now bear just sleeps. He sleeps through the growing season. One day Hare comes over and makes a deal. He’ll do the planting and split the crop ‘tops and bottoms’. Bears calls tops, so Hare plants carrots and beets and tubers. So bear only gets the tops of those things and rabbit gets the most vegetables. Bear is upset and he next wants the bottoms. Hare agrees and he plants lettuce and all kinds of good vegetables. Bear is left with the roots and Hare, again, gets most of the good vegetables. Next Bear wants a new crop and he gets the tops and bottoms. Hare agrees and plants corn. Hare keeps the middle and bears again loses out. I guess it’s best not to let someone else do your work for you, huh. The book is printed sideways so you open it like a calendar and we can see the bottoms of the veggies and the tops split in the middle. The artwork is lovely and the Hare and his family are amusing. They work hard and smart. I’m told that is what we want to do is work smart. I have to admit this title cracks me up. It could be a whole different story seen through an adult lens, but I like the story told. The kids loved this story. Every time they would crack up at rabbit getting the best of bear. I felt just a little sorry for bear. I know he’s lazy but that’s no reason to take advantage of him. Anyway, the kids laughed at this story. The niece loved how smart the Hare was. She gave this 4 stars. The nephew also gave this 4 stars. He thought this was a funny story.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Manybooks

    While I most definitely enjoyed Janet Stevens' Tops & Bottoms (and do understand why and how it won a Caldecott Honour designation), on a purely personal level, I actually find the illustrations a bit too brash, bold and in-your-face for my own tastes (and having to turn the book on its side, really rather majorly annoyed me at first). That being said, I can appreciate that this cumulative and often slyly humorous folktale adaptation will likely be a hit with most youngsters, and that the il While I most definitely enjoyed Janet Stevens' Tops & Bottoms (and do understand why and how it won a Caldecott Honour designation), on a purely personal level, I actually find the illustrations a bit too brash, bold and in-your-face for my own tastes (and having to turn the book on its side, really rather majorly annoyed me at first). That being said, I can appreciate that this cumulative and often slyly humorous folktale adaptation will likely be a hit with most youngsters, and that the illustrations truly both compliment and complement the narrative (text and image certainly work exceedingly well together). Tops & Bottoms rather strongly reminds me of the numerous European folktales where a usually male peasant or farmer trickster like personage makes a deal with the Devil (or some other kind of an evil demonic entity) to share his crops (and of course, wins against the same, always picking the choicest parts of the harvest, leaving the Devil with the chaff so to speak). With that fact in mind, I think that for me, the biggest and most troublesome issue with this otherwise excellent offering is the absence of a detailed author's note showing the story's origins and which specific tale or combination of tales the author used for her adaptation. I would certainly be interested knowing whether Janet Stevens had adapted her narrative from one of the "outsmarting the Devil folktales" with which I am familiar, and whether the original tale or tales she used as a source, feature animal trickster characters (like Tops & Bottoms itself does). I guess the absence of an author's note is not all that essential for the enjoyment of the story itself, but I think it would have been a helpful addition, as I always tend to think that if you are going to be adapting a folk or fairy tale, you really ought to be providing information as to its origin, genesis, history and the like. And considering I have now discovered that Tope & Bottoms is actually considered to be an adaptation of an African American folktale, this makes the lack of an author's note even more of a potential issue for me, as it would have most definitely increased the folkloric value to have been able to compare and contrast different types of tops and bottoms like tales (the European outsmarting the Devil ones with those that deal mostly with animal tricksters and are perceived as being primarily African in origin).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    With Neo’s garden beginning to bloom, I thought this would be a wonderful story to share with him. Bear is a lazy and very sleepy animal, rich from his family inheritance. Hare is poor with a large brood and nothing to feed them. Hare and his wife devise a plan to work with their neighbour and his plentiful fields. Hare approaches Bear to offer up a deal and ensure they both profit from planing vegetables. After Hare and his family do the planting, watering, and weeding he will cultivate the cro With Neo’s garden beginning to bloom, I thought this would be a wonderful story to share with him. Bear is a lazy and very sleepy animal, rich from his family inheritance. Hare is poor with a large brood and nothing to feed them. Hare and his wife devise a plan to work with their neighbour and his plentiful fields. Hare approaches Bear to offer up a deal and ensure they both profit from planing vegetables. After Hare and his family do the planting, watering, and weeding he will cultivate the crops and offer some to Bear and others to himself. Bear agrees to take the tops, leaving Hare the bottoms. The first season proves fruitful, but Hare ends up benefitting greatly. Not wanting to be tricked again, Bear takes the bottoms the second time around, only to be led into another trap. Will Bear fall for a trick when the third planting season comes to pass? Have a read and find out. Neo has been happy to see some of his vegetables growing so well over the past few weeks and looks forward to more bounty in the coming weeks. He got a kick out of how Hare was able to turn the tables on Bear, but hopes that our gardening agreement does not yield the same trickery.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ronyell

    I have been reading many stories that were inspired by Uncle Remus’ “Brer Rabbit” stories for many years, but I have never come across a story quite like this one! “Tops and Bottoms” is a Caldecott Honor Book that is written and illustrated beautifully by Janet Stevens and it is a trickster tale that is inspired by many European folktales and African-American folktales of the South that deal with the subject of a trickster character teaching their rivals a lesson in hard work and determination I have been reading many stories that were inspired by Uncle Remus’ “Brer Rabbit” stories for many years, but I have never come across a story quite like this one! “Tops and Bottoms” is a Caldecott Honor Book that is written and illustrated beautifully by Janet Stevens and it is a trickster tale that is inspired by many European folktales and African-American folktales of the South that deal with the subject of a trickster character teaching their rivals a lesson in hard work and determination! In this tale, Bear was rich as he has lots of land due to inheriting it from his father. Unfortunately, Bear was extremely lazy and he would spend his days sleeping away on the porch of his house. His neighbor Hare however, was poor as he was forced to give up his land due to losing a bet to Tortoise and he and his family were in an extremely poor state. It was then that Hare and his wife, Mrs. Hare decided to come up with a plan to take some of Bear’s wealth to make their lives easier. So, Hare decided to propose to Bear to become business partners and Hare will plant the harvest for each season, while Bear can take a nap during the harvesting. All that Hare asks for in return is for Bear to choose which side he wants from the vegetables he grows in the garden: the tops or the bottoms? Will Hare and his family outwit Bear? Read this book to find out! Once again, Janet Stevens had created another book that really got my folktale senses tingling! I loved the way that Janet Stevens based this story on the classic “Brer Rabbit” stories as Hare is shown getting what he wants by tricking Bear out of his crop by using his wits, which is extremely prevalent in the “Brer Rabbit” stories. I really enjoyed the tone of this book as it is lighthearted and clever and I thought it was hilarious when Hare and his family tricked Bear out of his crop as it also teaches readers that being lazy all the time will not help you succeed in life. Janet Stevens’ illustrations as usual are beautifully done as the characters look gorgeous, especially the images of Bear and Hare as they look shaggy yet realistic. I also loved the fact that this book is set up as being read from literally “top to bottom” as it really fits the title of this story! Overall, “Tops and Bottoms” is a truly brilliant book for anyone who is a huge fan of folktales that deal with characters who are tricksters and it would be a great treat for children and adults everywhere! I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since the book is pretty easy for younger children to read (unless they get confused about reading the book from top to bottom). Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Hare and his family are hungry. You see, Hare lost all his land in a bad bet with tortoise (haha, get it?) Bear sleeps all day on the front porch of his house, presiding over his large front yard. Hare decides to strike up a business deal with Bear. Hare will farm the land and give Bear half the veggies. "Which half do you want, tops or bottoms?" asks Hare. "Tops!" Bear declares, before promptly falling back asleep. And he sleeps all through the work of planting and harvesting the crops. When th Hare and his family are hungry. You see, Hare lost all his land in a bad bet with tortoise (haha, get it?) Bear sleeps all day on the front porch of his house, presiding over his large front yard. Hare decides to strike up a business deal with Bear. Hare will farm the land and give Bear half the veggies. "Which half do you want, tops or bottoms?" asks Hare. "Tops!" Bear declares, before promptly falling back asleep. And he sleeps all through the work of planting and harvesting the crops. When the time comes to receive the rewards, Hare gives him the top half of the veggies--the tops of carrots, potatoes, etc. -- that is, the crummy half. And so it goes with other veggies as Bear changes his mind to want the bottoms, then the middles, always getting burned by clever Hare. Now, I think the lesson here is supposed to be that being lazy and not working your fair share is a bad thing, and that hard work and cleverness should be rewarded. And I don't have a problem with that! I have enjoyed such tales as "The Little Red Hen" or "The Grasshopper and the Ant" for just such a reason. I think they teach an important lesson. My problem with this particular story is that Bear DID contribute something to the deal. He gave his land. Granted, he was not using it for anything else. But, it was HIS land. Hare had no land because he was stupid and wagered it in a bet with Tortoise (not very responsible, if you ask me!) So, Bear gave something to the deal and deserved to receive some compensation for it, in my opinion. The story is creative, the illustrations and format engaging, and I do see I am in the minority in finding something troublesome in the story. I don't mean to imply that other readers are wrong in finding merit in the book (indeed, as I said, I think the surface message is a good one), and I know Hare is supposed to be a trickster figure so perhaps one could emphasize that fact with children and show how perhaps it wasn't really fair of him to trick Bear like he did.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Randie D. Camp, M.S.

    Tops & Bottoms is a humorous trickster tale based in European folktales and slave stories from the American South. The hare uses his wit to outsmart the lazy bear and maximize his profits during the cropping season. The trick is in whether the hare or the bear will collect either the “tops” or “bottoms” of crops. Of course, the sleeping bear is unaware of the crops being planted and always manages to get the useless parts of the produce. Janet Stevens’ text and illustrations are balanced wel Tops & Bottoms is a humorous trickster tale based in European folktales and slave stories from the American South. The hare uses his wit to outsmart the lazy bear and maximize his profits during the cropping season. The trick is in whether the hare or the bear will collect either the “tops” or “bottoms” of crops. Of course, the sleeping bear is unaware of the crops being planted and always manages to get the useless parts of the produce. Janet Stevens’ text and illustrations are balanced well in quality, talent, and detail. This book could be used to discuss partnerships, pointing out all the ways in which bear and hare’s partnership is flawed. It could also be used to introduce vegetables, farming, or to highlight the characteristics of trickster tales.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    The way the book opens, the artwork is incredible and the story such a good one. I loved everything about this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    June 2014: I have loved this book since I first read it, while I was in college, probably a year or two after it was published. At the time, the orientation of the book seemed quite unique and I loved (and still love) that the illustrations for the book were created on paper made from vegetables. While I think the story is good, a fun trickster type tale, the illustrations are the best. Despite loving this book (and having read it to my students), I had apparently never read it to my own childre June 2014: I have loved this book since I first read it, while I was in college, probably a year or two after it was published. At the time, the orientation of the book seemed quite unique and I loved (and still love) that the illustrations for the book were created on paper made from vegetables. While I think the story is good, a fun trickster type tale, the illustrations are the best. Despite loving this book (and having read it to my students), I had apparently never read it to my own children until this past week. They really loved how clever Hare was...although we all kind of felt like the third time, when he promised the Bear the tops and bottoms, that he could have and should have planted some vegetables that grew on the top or bottom...so bear could have at least SOME vegetables. That would have been more kind and fair, they said. Reread November 2016: A few more thoughts I had as I read this again today. First, I was really struck by the beginning which said that Bear's father had been a hard worker and a smart business bear and had given all his wealth to his son. But bear just wanted to sleep. I've spent most of my teaching career working with children in poverty (17 years) but the past two years I have been at a school where many of the students come from privileged, even wealthy backgrounds and some (certainly not all, not even most...but some) are very entitled. Much like bear. These children need to learn to work and be responsible..and it can be challenging to help them develop a work ethic and take responsibility. Because bear was lazy and entitled and Hare's family was destitute (due to Hare's poor decision making/gambling), it reminded me a bit of a Robin Hood tale. Not entirely but at least some element of the poor deserving the riches...particularly since Hare and his family worked the land...and bear was a poor caretaker of his land...He never once woke up to supervise or made any agreement about what would be grown or anything. Perhaps Hare even sort of learned his lesson now that he is working so hard (although he clearly still makes agreements that border on bets.)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marta Michniewicz

    A hilarious book about a bear and a rabbit tangled in a farm business. From the very first page, the story surprises the readers with the professional, business-related words and phrases, for instance "a smart business bear," which sound incredibly funny when used in relation to the typical fairy-tale characters, such as a bear, a rabbit, or even a tortoise. The layout of the book is really well-done. First of all, I liked the correspondence between the the vertical pattern of the book and its ti A hilarious book about a bear and a rabbit tangled in a farm business. From the very first page, the story surprises the readers with the professional, business-related words and phrases, for instance "a smart business bear," which sound incredibly funny when used in relation to the typical fairy-tale characters, such as a bear, a rabbit, or even a tortoise. The layout of the book is really well-done. First of all, I liked the correspondence between the the vertical pattern of the book and its title. I also enjoyed the fact that the text is placed in bright frames which makes it easy to read. The only cases in which the text is not framed are the scenes of waking the bear up. These are also the only scenes when the pictures are framed, which highlights the recurrent nature of these situations and in a way distinguishes them from the rest of the plot. As far as the illustrations are concerned, there is no negative space in the book and the pictures frequently reach beyond the boundaries of particular pages. Brown, sandy, yellow and beige are the dominating colours, that constitute a monolithic canva on which other colours, such as green, orange, red and white pop out. All these colours can be associated with soil, farm, and crops-growing, which again constitutes a well-designed correspondence between the colour palette and the plot. Although the illustrations occured quite simple to me at the first sign, they surprised me with details afer a thorough examination. For instance, I really loved the carrot-print on the rabbit's T-shirt and the bee-print on the bear's scarf. I also liked the distribution of particular characters on the pages that was a reflection of the plot: after the bear has chosen to get the top parts of the vegetables, he appeared on the top page, after he has chosen the bottom ones, he appeared on the bottom page. What also seemed particularly appealing to me in Tops & Bottoms is the fact that this story has a moral: remember everyone, do not sleep during the working time, or a shrewd entrepreneur rabbit might trick you!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shanna Gonzalez

    This tale is derived from European folktales and slave stories of the American South. In it, the industrious but unscrupulous Hare is pitted against the profoundly lazy Bear. Hare proposes that he and his family work Bear's land (some of which which had originally been his) in exchange for half of the crops produced, and Bear may have first choice of whether he gets the tops or bottoms of the crops. Bear agrees, chooses tops, and goes to sleep on the porch of his falling-apart house while Hare p This tale is derived from European folktales and slave stories of the American South. In it, the industrious but unscrupulous Hare is pitted against the profoundly lazy Bear. Hare proposes that he and his family work Bear's land (some of which which had originally been his) in exchange for half of the crops produced, and Bear may have first choice of whether he gets the tops or bottoms of the crops. Bear agrees, chooses tops, and goes to sleep on the porch of his falling-apart house while Hare plants root vegetables. At harvest time, when he receives only inedible leaves, Bear chooses bottoms for the following year, then sleeps through Hare's planting of broccoli, tomatoes, and other surface-growing vegetables. Roaring in fury at being tricked again, he demands a year of tops and bottoms -- and Hare obliges with a corn crop, leaving Bear the tassels and stalks but keeping the corn cobs in the middle. Trickster stories are moral tales, but not the kind in which a hero sets a good example. There is no hero in this story -- rather, the lazy bear provides an example of how not to act, since his laziness makes him vulnerable to being cheated. He provides an excellent illustration for Proverbs 25:28, which states that a person without self-control is "like a city whose [defensive:] walls are broken down." The simple, repetitive humor is all at the foolish Bear's expense, but after the third transaction he learns his lesson. From then on he farms his own land outside his well-maintained house), and never enters into another business deal with Hare. There aren't many funny books for children about the dangers of laziness, and this one is a keeper. The story is brilliantly illustrated with lively, detailed paintings that carry the story, and and rather than reading from left to right it opens vertically to be read from top to bottom. This feature complements the story theme, but does take a little getting used to for reading aloud.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dominik

    There aren't many picture books which are funny, educative, and visually attractive at the same time. "Tops & Bottoms" by Janet Stevens is one of such books. The story is strong criticism of feudal system, which is presented in the book. There is Bear, who owns land, and Hare, who doesn't have land, but who is willing to work. In return for the work, he has a right to take half of the crop. However, as we could see, Hare is a born business person and he is the one who makes profits from the l There aren't many picture books which are funny, educative, and visually attractive at the same time. "Tops & Bottoms" by Janet Stevens is one of such books. The story is strong criticism of feudal system, which is presented in the book. There is Bear, who owns land, and Hare, who doesn't have land, but who is willing to work. In return for the work, he has a right to take half of the crop. However, as we could see, Hare is a born business person and he is the one who makes profits from the land. The book teaches a kid that he or she should trust nobody and that he or she should rely on hard work rather than hollow promises of other people. And that laziness is bad. The vertical layout of the books is a very interesting idea. A child may see that books don't have to be prepared in a traditional way. I admire all the illustrations which are very complex and detailed - for example, there are bees on Bear's scarf, his house is a shack which is to fall apart in a minute, and we see that he's too lazy to tie his laces up. As for the story, the book is not overloaded with text. There are many dialogues, thanks to which the plot is easy to follow for kids.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dolly

    This is a fantastic 'trickster' fable type of story with an interesting "top and bottom" book format. It made the book a bit cumbersome to read, but we still had a lot fun reading it. The illustrations are very fun and expressive; our girls really enjoyed reading this book. This book was selected as one of the books for the May 2014 - Gardening discussion at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads. This book was also selected as one of the books for the November 2016 This is a fantastic 'trickster' fable type of story with an interesting "top and bottom" book format. It made the book a bit cumbersome to read, but we still had a lot fun reading it. The illustrations are very fun and expressive; our girls really enjoyed reading this book. This book was selected as one of the books for the May 2014 - Gardening discussion at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads. This book was also selected as one of the books for the November 2016- Caldecott Honor discussion at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brindi Michele

    1996 Caldecott Honor This book was too cute and fun because it has a vertical layout...and of course, there's a moral to the story. Great for this year's Dig into reading theme. read for The Butler read for garden gang #1

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    This is one of those books that stands the test of time. I read it to my class when I first started out teaching at age 23 and now that I'm a library teacher I need to use it to teach students about the Caldecott medal.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Our students really like this one. They've grasped the lesson that it isn't nice to trick people. They're still working on the lesson that it's also not nice to make others do all the work and then expect to still reap the benefits.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Soucy

    This works as a read aloud. My students always enjoy it but I find it cumbersome to try to hold the book. It works better with older students because the language is more mature and plot it takes awhile to unfold.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Fantastic page formatting -- our students say they think this book was the first instance of #teambear vs. #teamrabbit, and I have to agree with them!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Very cute modern fable. Educational too!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lauren H

    it was funny and i do recommend it

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michael Fitzgerald

    Same story as The Best of the Bargain, which comes from Poland.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Satia

    A fun book. I think Bibi would have really liked it. For more: http://satiasreviews.blogspot.com/201...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    LOVED this clever children's picture book about a hare who is trying to feed his hungry family. The bear is lazy and the hare is willing to work and is able to to reap the benefits.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Natascha

    Book level: 3.2 Lextile: 580 Fountas and Pinnell: L Book summary: This is a tale of a partnership between a lazy bear and an enterprising hare. Hare will do whatever he can to make sure his family is taken care of while bear's laziness may mean that he gets the short end of the deal. Genre: Traditional literature. These tales are typically created to teach the reader a lesson through the events and characters included in the story. The interactions between bear and hare and what results from both of Book level: 3.2 Lextile: 580 Fountas and Pinnell: L Book summary: This is a tale of a partnership between a lazy bear and an enterprising hare. Hare will do whatever he can to make sure his family is taken care of while bear's laziness may mean that he gets the short end of the deal. Genre: Traditional literature. These tales are typically created to teach the reader a lesson through the events and characters included in the story. The interactions between bear and hare and what results from both of their work ethics is the core of this book's lesson. Mentor writing traits: Ideas - there is a clear message in this text of if you work hard and are clever, you will reap the benefits of all your hard work. If you are lazy, you won't get much. Hare clearly benefits from all the hard work that he puts into the garden. He is also very clever and does take advantage of bear's laziness. Bear's laziness leads to him getting the worse end of their partnership but he eventually learns that hard work=great benefits. Presentation - the way the pages are set up (vertically versus horizontally) is done on purpose and matches the title of the book 'Tops and bottoms' and associates nice with a major setting in the story a garden. The pages that feature illustrations of both the bear and the hare, the bear always appears on the top page and the hare is on the bottom page. Again, I think this is done on purpose and reflects the initial agreement in this partnership that bear gets the tops of the harvest and hare gets the bottoms. Classroom integration/mini lessons/content connections: This could work as a mentor text where students can analyze the two main characters in the book and discuss how the characters habits and accomplishments attribute to the story's message. As a class, they can take notes on the characteristics, habits, and accomplishments of both main characters. Then students can explain how each characters' habits and attitude about work affect the outcome of this partnership. This book could also be used a mentor text to demonstrate an author's deliberate use of form or layout of the book itself and illustrations. As a class, they can concentrate on the look and feel of the book before reading the book aloud. Students will be asked to review the illustrations and the book itself and note what is interesting. Hopefully students notice that the book is vertically aligned and the teacher can guide students to notice this and some key points in the illustrations. As pairs, students will be given a short story and will be challenged over a couple of days to create the layout and illustrations for that story. This book could be used for plant growth science unit and analysis of different vegetable types.

  24. 4 out of 5

    David

    Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens is a great adaption of European folktales & slave stories of the American South, including the Brer Rabbit tales. Hare uses his wits, in the trickster tradition, to overcome hardhip & profit from the lazy ways of his neighbor, Bear, who owns lots of land. Rabbit proposes a partnership, with Bear where Hare's family will plant and harvest a crop while Bear sleeps. Their first agreement is to give Bear all the tops while the Hares keep the bottoms. So Ha Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens is a great adaption of European folktales & slave stories of the American South, including the Brer Rabbit tales. Hare uses his wits, in the trickster tradition, to overcome hardhip & profit from the lazy ways of his neighbor, Bear, who owns lots of land. Rabbit proposes a partnership, with Bear where Hare's family will plant and harvest a crop while Bear sleeps. Their first agreement is to give Bear all the tops while the Hares keep the bottoms. So Hare grow carrots, beets, & radishes, and keeps these root crops while the Bear gets the keafy tops. Bear is not happy & next year demands the tops. So Hare plants lettuce, broccoli, & celery, and Bear gets the useless bottoms. Bear is very mad and demands both tops & bottoms next year. So Hare grows corn, and Bear gets tassels & roots & stalks, while Hare keeps the ears of corn in the middle. Lazy Bear then decides to stay up and work during planting and harvest season and keep all the profits, learning a lesson. Hare uses the money from the sale of the crops to buy back the land he'd sold to pay his bet with the Tortoise after their famous race. Steven's illustrations are gorgeous, using bright colors for the detailed paintings, which carry the humourous tale. Themes include gardens, vegetables, laziness, the value of hard work, and cleverness. The book opens vertically so the two page speads are tall. It's a little diffferent to get used to holding the book for read alouds, but the funny, clever story is well worth it. For ages 6 to 10, garden, vegetable, work, humor, and trickster themes, and fans of the Hare and of Janet Stevens.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    So do you like tops or bottoms better? Hare is smart but he has had some problems with his money and now his family is hungry. Sleepy, lazy old bear thinks he is the smartest of the two, when hare wants to plant the field in front of bear’s house. So when Bear says tops, Hare plants crops that produce their vegetation under the ground. While Bear sleeps, Hare waters and weeds around the seeds and helps the plants grow. When they are grown, he tears the tops off and throws them in a pile for Bear So do you like tops or bottoms better? Hare is smart but he has had some problems with his money and now his family is hungry. Sleepy, lazy old bear thinks he is the smartest of the two, when hare wants to plant the field in front of bear’s house. So when Bear says tops, Hare plants crops that produce their vegetation under the ground. While Bear sleeps, Hare waters and weeds around the seeds and helps the plants grow. When they are grown, he tears the tops off and throws them in a pile for Bear and he takes the bottoms and puts them in a pile for himself. Waking Bear up to see the crops, Bear is mad! Hare asks Bear again “Tops or bottoms?” and Bear picks bottoms so Hare plants crops which produce vegetation on the top and the roots are on the bottom (underground). Again, Bear sleeps and Hare works. Time passes and the crops grow. Hare harvests the crops and piles everything up into two piles and wakes up Bear. Bear is extremely mad now. The field is planted again and well, you need to read the story to see how Bear and Hare work out this planting season and whether they ever get to be friends again. The story moves along quickly and the illustrations are lively and fun. I love the relationship between the characters and the storyline.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Katie Fitzgerald

    Tops and Bottoms is a trickster tale wherein a clever hare repeatedly tricks a lazy bear into giving him the edible parts of his vegetables, whether they be tops, bottoms, or middles. The orientation of the book is switched from portrait to landscape, so that each illustration effectively portrays a top and a bottom. It's a great treat for the reader to uncover subtle details like the hare's carrot shirt and the bear's honeybee tie, and to see the many little hares peeking out from behind piles Tops and Bottoms is a trickster tale wherein a clever hare repeatedly tricks a lazy bear into giving him the edible parts of his vegetables, whether they be tops, bottoms, or middles. The orientation of the book is switched from portrait to landscape, so that each illustration effectively portrays a top and a bottom. It's a great treat for the reader to uncover subtle details like the hare's carrot shirt and the bear's honeybee tie, and to see the many little hares peeking out from behind piles of vegetables. Stevens uses the orientation of each page to provide a unique perspective. We look up on the porch where the bear sleeps from the point of view of the hares who deliver the vegetables to the bottom of the steps. She also draws the tops, bottoms, and middles in their correct place on the tall two-page spreads to reinforce the meanings of those words for the new reader. I love the accuracy of the details in the different vegetables, and the wonderful personalities infused into the bear and hare characters.

  27. 4 out of 5

    SamZ

    1996 Caldecott Honor - Favorite Illustration: I absolutely LOVE the bear's face when he wakes up to find that, once again, Hare has gotten the best of him by taking the middles, leaving bear with the tassels and roots of the cornstalks. He looks so angry and frustrated! Having lost his land in an ill-conceived bet with a tortoise, Hare must come up with a way to feed his large family. He makes a deal with his neighbor, Bear, to cultivate and work the land and share a portion with the Bear. Of cou 1996 Caldecott Honor - Favorite Illustration: I absolutely LOVE the bear's face when he wakes up to find that, once again, Hare has gotten the best of him by taking the middles, leaving bear with the tassels and roots of the cornstalks. He looks so angry and frustrated! Having lost his land in an ill-conceived bet with a tortoise, Hare must come up with a way to feed his large family. He makes a deal with his neighbor, Bear, to cultivate and work the land and share a portion with the Bear. Of course, since the bear is lazy and doesn't want to do any work, Hare is easily able to trick Bear and get the best of the harvest - even while appearing to give Bear first pick! This is a fun and amusing story, and I liked the way the illustrations were just whimsical enough to fit the tale. I was annoyed by the book being sideways, however, I guess it fits with the tale, but it just bugged me while reading it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    I thoroughly enjoy this humorous Afro-American folktale every time I read it. Every growing season for three years, Rabbit thinks of a clever way to outsmart the lazy bear who doesn't want to grow his own crops, but is happy for Rabbit to do all the work. But each time, Rabbit manages to keep the best part of the crop. I have used this book with groups of children before, and they enjoy the tricks the Rabbit plays on the bear. The watercolor, colored pencil and gesso cartoon paintings are large I thoroughly enjoy this humorous Afro-American folktale every time I read it. Every growing season for three years, Rabbit thinks of a clever way to outsmart the lazy bear who doesn't want to grow his own crops, but is happy for Rabbit to do all the work. But each time, Rabbit manages to keep the best part of the crop. I have used this book with groups of children before, and they enjoy the tricks the Rabbit plays on the bear. The watercolor, colored pencil and gesso cartoon paintings are large enough to be viewed by a group. Her bear and rabbit characters are funny and expressive. This is an excellent example of folklore for children.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This book made me smile at the cleverness of the Hare. Just when I thought that the bear had beaten him, he pulled another trick from his sleeve and was all the better. A most enjoyable book that has roots of education in it as well. I'd recommend it. *Taken from my book reviews blog: http://reviewsatmse.blogspot.com/2008...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    More than anything, I like the format of this book. You read it long-ways (if that makes any sense). It's also a nice twist on the traditional Little Red Hen folk-tale. Of course, Janet Steven's illustrations are incredible too.

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