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)
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Janet Stevens is the author and illustrator of many beloved picture books, including Tops & Bottoms, a Caldecott Honor Book. With her sister and co-author, Susan Stevens Crummel, she created the acclaimed best-sellers The Great Fuzz Frenzy,Help Me, Mr. Mutt!, The Little Red Pen and more. She is also the illustrator of the Epossumondas books, written by renowned storyteller Coleen Salley. Janet Stevens lives in Colorado. Visit her online at janetstevens.com.From School Library Journal:
PreSchool-Grade 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
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