The Definitive Guide to

Tops and Bottoms

Written & illustrated by Janet Stevens
Published by Harcourt Brace
5.25 / 7.0
- Bookroo Rating
Goodreads Rating - 4.3 / 5.0
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used $2.75
Jan 1, 1995
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What's Tops and Bottoms About

Publisher Summary

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)

What Kind of Book is Tops and Bottoms

Quotes from Tops and Bottoms

  • “Although Hare was clever, he sometimes got into trouble. He had once owned land, too, but now he had nothing. He had lost a risky bet with a tortoise and had sold all of his land to bear to pay off the debt.”
  • “‘We can be business partners!’ Hare said. ‘All we need is this field right here in front of your house. I’ll do the hard work of planting and harvesting, and we can split the profit right down the middle. Yes, sir, Bear, we’re in this together. I’ll work and you sleep.’”
  • “So Bear went back to sleep, and Hare and his family went to work. They planted, watered, and weeded then watered and weeded some more. Bear slept as the crops grew.”

Trusted Reviews & Ratings

The Goodfather
Favorite pastime? Reading with my kids. Just finished Nana Cracks the Case!
5.0 / 7.0
The Book Snob Mom
Mom of boys. Lover of Harry Potter, Jane Austen and believes one can never own too many children's books!
5.5 / 7.0

There’s definitely some nostalgia here for me, but I absolutely love this book! It has its own folksy feel from the original tales, emphasized and added to by the rich illustrations (this is a Caldecott winner after all!) while still being relevant and modern. Is anyone else loving Father Hare’s sweet carrot shirt?! While I don’t necessarily condone Father Hare’s wily business practices, in the spirit of a true folk tale the deserving are fed and the not so deserving learn a lesson… this time about doing your own hard work.

Book Lists That Include Tops and Bottoms

Book Topics › bunnies and rabbits
Children's Books About Bunnies And Rabbits
Book Topics › farms
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Who Wrote Tops and Bottoms

author & illustrator
Janet Stevens

<p><b>Janet Stevens</b> is the author and illustrator of many beloved picture books, including <i>Tops & Bottoms, </i> a Caldecott Honor Book. With her sister and co-author, Susan Stevens Crummel, she created the acclaimed best-sellers <i>The Great Fuzz Frenzy, </i><i>Help Me, Mr. Mutt!, The Little Red Pen</i> 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</p>

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Book Details

Publication Date:
January 1, 1995
Illustration Details:
The illustrations in this book were done in watercolor, colored pencil, and gesso on paper made by hand.
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Core Score - 85%
So, SO close to perfection!
Depth Score - 21%
Just the barebones.
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