September 2013


Tops and Bottoms

By: Janet Stevens

Bear has lots of land and lives very comfortably, but he is not a hard worker. His neighbor Hare has nothing but a hungry family, but he is smart and resourceful. Hare is sure there is a way to share his neighbor's good fortune, so he and Mrs. Hare come up with a plan. Hare will plant Bear's crops if Bear agrees to share half of the produce. All Bear has to choose is the half of the crop he wants-tops or bottoms. Bear chooses to take tops, but he discovers that he might have been outsmarted by clever Hare!


  1. Where does food grow? In Tops and Bottoms, we learn that some foods grow above ground while others grow beneath the ground. Discuss with your family where your favorite food is grown. Try to think of 3 foods that grow on top of the ground and 3 foods that grow beneath the ground.

  2. Gardens are very important because they provide healthy fruits and vegetables to eat. Fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden taste yummy and they are great for you! You and your family can grow produce at home in a yard or a planting pot. This website can help you plant your garden, and it even shows you how to plant in incredible places, like shoes!

  3. Janet Steven's Tops and Bottoms has roots in folktales and stories of the American South. Folktales are fictitious stories passed down from generation to generation that are told to amuse and amaze listeners. Over time, many folktales have been written down and published as books to read and enjoy. Visit your local public library and ask your librarian to help you find other interesting and exciting books based on folktales.

  4. A plant's growing season is the period of the year when the weather conditions are right for the plant to grow successfully. There are many plants that grow well in Tennessee during September. Check out this graph or visit your local farmer's market to find out which plants are growing. You could also visit a nearby farm to pick your own fruits and vegetables that are in season!