Tops & Bottoms
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Tops & Bottoms

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  3,490 ratings  ·  209 reviews
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...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 29th 1995 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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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...more
Randie
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Ronyell
"Tops and Bottoms" is a Caldecott Honor Book written and illustrated beautifully by Janet Stevens and it is about how Hare tries to outwit Bear, who is very rich, by convincing Bear to get the tops and bottom halves of every vegetable they grew in Bear's garden.

This book is clearly a clever retelling of the classic "Brer Rabbit" tales from the American South as Hare cleverly outwits Bear by first letting Bear take the top halves of the carrots when he tells Hare he wants the tops and Hare gives...more
Bridget
One of the neatest things about Tops and Bottoms is how the book opens vertically (from top to bottom) rather than horizontally (from side to side). The vertical orientation and double panel artwork complement the theme of the story; the reader goes from top to bottom of panels. In the story, the hare makes a deal with the bear. He and his family will work Bear's land and split the crops in half. In an act of “fairness” Hare lets Bear choose which half of the crop he he wants "tops or bottoms."...more
Hana Sm.
This book deserves 5 stars, I don't know why anybody would give it less than 5.
I like how this story develops from the "tortoise & the hare" fable. In this story, the rabbit (or hare) is broke after losing a bet that he could beat the tortoise in a race. He is poor and his wife & kids are starving. He thinks of a scheme to feed his family. The way he does it is slick but you don't hate him for it.

I have reread this story repeatedly, because it is that good. This story took a simple conc...more
Meghan
Tops and Bottoms is about a poor Hare who has lost all his land and a bear who has plenty of land but is not using any of it. Hare has to save his large family from starvation, so he tricks the bear into using the land to plant food but ending up with all the food himself.

I really liked this picture book. Not only was it entertaining because you read it top to bottom instead of left to right, but it also gave a good moral: you reap what you sow. I could kind of see American Capitalism set into...more
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.
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!
Kathryn
The way the book opens, the artwork is incredible and the story such a good one. I loved everything about this book.
Barbara
Feb 03, 2009 Barbara rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: children studying where food comes from.
Recommended to Barbara by: A first grade teacher.
This is a clever book adapted and illustrated by Janet Stevens. It suggests what happened to the hare after his famous race with the tortoise. This time he is the neighbor of a rich, lazy bear with lots of land. The hare and his family are poor, so they hatch a plan to take advantage of Bear's laziness and land. Hare wakes up bear and proposes a partnership. He and his family will plant and harvest a crop while bear sleeps. They will give Bear all the tops and they will keep the bottoms. So Bear...more
Sara Check
1.This is a traditional picture book.

2.This Caldecott Honor Book pairs two familiar characters in a very different situation. Hare, a hard-working but unlucky rabbit, uses Bear, who is rich but lazy, to his advantage come harvest time. Hare definitely uses his knowledge about food when it matters most and his family depends on it but when Bear finally catches on, it’s too late.

3.A. Janet Stevens’ traditional tale is pulled from times of hardship and slavery and does a phenomenal job of relating...more
Lisa Mason
Tops and Bottoms is adapted and illustrated by Janet Stevens. It is a delightful tale that tells what happened to a Hare and his family after he lost it all on a ‘risky bet with a tortoise.’ This extension of story places it into the category of traditional literature.

A Caldecott Honor book, Tops and Bottoms details the misfortune of a very lazy bear who owns a lot of land. All he wants to do is sleep, so when Hare offers to farm his land in exchange for half of the crops, Bear is quick to agree...more
Nicole
I thought this book was so cute I love how it started out with the rabbit losing a bet the tortoise, because of the whole slow and steady wins the race! The artwork in this book is very nicely done and appealing as well!


Summary:
Hare loses his land because he lost a bet with a tortoise, so he makes a deal with bear. The deal is that if Bear lets Hare use his land that he will give bear half of the veggies. Bear agrees so Hare asks if he wants the tops or bottoms and Bear says he wants the tops....more
Amy Musser
Based on trickster folktales, this story features a clever hare and a very lazy bear. Bear is rich and owns a great deal of land, but all he wants to do was sleep. His land is barren year after year. On the other hand, Hare has a very large family and no way to feed them. So Hare makes Bear a deal: If Bear let's Hare and his family use his land they will do all the planting, tending, and harvesting and Hare will split the harvest with Bear. Hare let’s Bear choose: tops or bottoms of the vegetabl...more
Blair
Genre: Traditional

Summary: A hare came up with a plan to save his family from hunger and makes a deal with this neighbor the bear, who was wealthy but lazy. Hare agreed to plant and maintain crops for the bear and they would split the profits evenly. When the crops were harvested, bear realized he had been tricked by hare who separated the tops from the bottoms of the crops and eventually the bear learned to plant his own crops and hare made enough money on bear's crops to plant his own.

Critiqu...more
Savanah
Reading Level: 3.8 (Lexile: 650L)
Interest Level: PreK-2
Genre: Fables, Folk Tales, Traditional Literature
Main Characters: Bear and Hare
Setting: Bear's front yard
POV: Narrator

This story is about a lazy, but rich Bear. Hare is his neighbor but lost all of this land in a bet with a tortoise. Hare has many children to feed and decides to trick this lazy rich Bear. He tells Bear that he can sleep all season while Hare plants in his yard. Hare will give Bear half of the profit. Before Hare plants for t...more
Susan
Picture Book Project
Category: Tumblebooks
Source: Library of Virginia

Extending on the story about the Tortoise and the Hare, Janet Stevens writes a story about how the Hare makes a comeback. With a hungry family to feed and no money or land, Hare and his wife decide to trick the lazy Bear into helping them. Bear agrees that in return for letting Hare and his family use his land he will get half of the crops. The trick is that when he picks the top half, Hare plants crops like carrots and beats th...more
Tara Kollman
A lazy bear inherited lots of many and land from his father, but all the Bear did was sleep. His neighbor, Hare, used to own land as well, but lost everything with a risky bet to the tortoise. His family was in bad shape so they thought of a plan. They went to the Bear’s house and asked if they can become business partners. The Hare’s family bribed the Bear by telling him they would do all the work and split the profit right down the middle, and Bear agreed. Hare asked him if he wanted the top o...more
Marissa Cuevas
This book was very fun to read because it was written differently than most books. Instead of opening a book right to left you opened it from top to bottom which was very amusing. The pictures in this book are made to look like a cartoon animation. The colors of the illustration are very much neutral and not anything special. The illustrations are related to the text in the book. I can definitely understand why this book was award winning because It did show a different style of storytelling tha...more
Emily Galicia
I enjoyed a lot this book. I found that this book was written differently than most books, and it makes it even more pleasurable to read. I think that the pictures in this book are made to look like a cartoon animation, which was great because you actually were more involved in the story. The illustrations were pretty much related to the text in the book. The moral I found in this book was that: with hard work and dedication we get a reward but without we get nothing that is of value to us. I co...more
Catherine
Janet Stevens has created another totally engaging picture book, this one reminding me of the Great Fuzz Frenzy. In Tops and Bottoms, the hare, lately of the race against the tortoise, finds himself with no land on which to grow food for his family. In a humorous and contrived tale, hare negotiates to grow crops on land belonging to bear. Readers learn from the text and the lovely illustrations about the structure of the crops, identifying that people eat the roots of some plants, the stems of o...more
Taylor Williams
I had never heard of the story "Tops and Bottoms" as a kid growing up so I decided to read this book and maybe learn a thing or two. This story is about a hare, yes the hare from "Tortoise and the Hare" and a bear. The hare is able to trick the bear into letting him plant his garden and in exchange the bear can sleep and the hare and his family will receive half of what they have planted. Well, the hare is very clever and asks the bear if he wants "tops or bottoms" and the bear chooses bottoms s...more
Kendra
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Maureen
A Caldecott Honor book.

This folktale includes elements of the trickster tradition as Hare tricks Bear over and over again. Hare and his family have no land and are very hungry. Bear has lots of land but is very lazy and sleeps all day. Hare comes up with a plan to use Bear's land to grow food but trick Bear out of the food by making his choose the tops or the bottoms of the harvest. Children will enjoy seeing Bear tricked over and over again and will try to guess how Hare will attempt to trick B...more
Connie
Rabbit needs to earn some money, so he decides to cheat his lazy neighbor, Bear.

He borrows Bear's field with an agreement to split the harvest - tops or bottoms?

Well, of course, when Bear picks tops Rabbit plants root crops; and when Bear picks bottoms Rabbit picks non-root crops; and when Bear insists on a season of *both* tops and bottoms Rabbit plants *corn* and takes the middle.

Fairly lighthearted fare.

There are a few notes.

First, the book opens sideways, with one page on top and one page on...more
Alisha
This book was perfect for when we read it: garden planning season. The hare doesn't have as much land as he needs to feed his family, but bear does, and he doesn't use his land. Hare is dishonest, but the learning about what parts you eat and how things grow is FABULOUS for little minds that will be involved in a garden for the first time. So good!
Charlie
Title: Tops and Bottoms
Author: Janet Stevens
Best Ratings: 3, 4, 5

Summary: In the book, "THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE," we know that Hare lost. Anyways, Hare also loses his land and Bear a rich and lazy one buys it. So Hare comes up with a plan to get it back. He will ask Bear if he can work in his garden. He tells him that he will have to pay him. Hare tricks the bear by asking what part of the vegetable he wants and he always gets the root. At the end, Hare buys his land back and opens up a veget...more
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Janet Stevens is a children's books illustrator and author.
More about Janet Stevens...
The Princess and the Pea The Great Fuzz Frenzy Help Me, Mr. Mutt!: Expert Answers for Dogs with People Problems The Tortoise and the Hare: An Aesop Fable The Little Red Pen

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