Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tops & Bottoms adapted and illustrated by Janet Stevens

Lexile:    580
Pages:    30
Ages:     4-8

Bear is well-to-do and lazy.  He has inherited a house and land from his father, who was a hard working bear.  All he does is sleep all day long.

Hare is a hard worker, but sometimes foolish.  He made a bet with a tortoise and lost  (but that's another story!) : )  Anyway, in order to pay off his bet he sells his land to Bear.

While Bear lives alone, Hare has a family.  Due to his poor choices, Hare's family is hungry so he makes a deal with Bear - Hare and his family will do all the work, Bear will provide the land and they will share the crops.  Bear agrees and Hare asks him, "So what will it be, Bear? The top half or the bottom half?  It's up to you - tops or bottoms."  Bear says he'll take the tops and goes back to sleep.

So Hare plants carrots, radishes and beets - all things that grow under the ground; the "bottoms" - which he gets to keep while Bear gets a big pile of greens.  Bear is not amused.  He tells Hare to replant the field and this time he wants the bottoms.

What do you think Hare plants this time?  Come to the library for a copy of Tops & Bottoms and find out.

I like this Caldecott Honor book for the lesson that hard work and careful planning are the way to achieve what you want in life, and the amusing way it gets it across.  The illustrations are colorful and could almost tell the story on their own.  I've read this story to all of my grandchildren and have a talk about how if they work hard they can be whatever they want to be.  Then I might ask them what they want to be when they grow up.  When I asked my youngest granddaughter, who was about 5 at the time, she told me she wanted to be a princess.  The odds for that one are kind of long but, hey, it could happen - look at Grace Kelly!

Peace, Love, and Reading,
Miss Laurie

Click here http://tinyurl.com/74frn99 to reserve your copy of Tops & Bottoms at your favorite Lake County Public Library branch.

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