using Tops and Bottoms in speech therapy
Frequent Speech Sounds:

/kr/ initial
/sl/ initial
/pl/ initial
/ps/ final
/mz/ final
/h/ initial
/w/ initial
/b/ initial
/ar/ medial
/v/ medial
/air/ final


providing for your family
learning a lesson
hard work

Book Details:
Diverse Characters: N/A
Age Recommendation: Elementary, Late Elementary

Tops and Bottoms

By Janet Stevens

In this Caldecott Honorwinning retelling by Janet Stevens, a wily Hare solves his family’s problems by tricking rich and lazy Bear into giving up half his crops. Once a upon a time, there was a lazy Bear and a clever Hare. Bear had lots of money and lots of land but all he wanted to do was sleep. Hare had nothing but hungry children, so he came up with a plan to convince Bear to split his land down the middle—tops and bottoms. Hare can work all day and Bear can sleep. It’s the perfect solution! Or is it?

This hilarious spring book can be used in speech therapy to address social/emotional issues like providing for your family, motivation, and learning a lesson. It is also great for noticing character expressions and for targeting predicting, sequencing, and character analysis! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using Tops and Bottoms in speech therapy below: 

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode

Narrative Concepts:



problem solving
character analysis
illustration study
verbs (action)
verbs (regular past tense)
verbs (linguistic)


order of deals of planting tops and bottoms


wealth, clever, bet, debt, grunted, partners, harvesting, done deal, plucked, scowled, growled, yanked, tassels, hollered, profit

Character Analysis:

Hare and his family put in the work while Bear sleeps through the season. Bear gets frustrated when the outcome is not what he wanted and blames it on the Hare.


Hare teaches Bear a lesson when Hare’s crops grow despite the land he has. Hare is motivated by providing for his family, where Bear comes from money and hasn’t had to work for anything.

facial expressions
hard work


verbs (action)
verbs (regular past tense)
verbs (linguistic)


What do you think Hare’s plan is?
What do you think he will ask Bear?
What do you think they will do on the land?
What do you think will happen when they switch top and bottom?
What do you think will happen when Bear gets to top and bottom?
What part do you think Hare will get?
What do you think is making the difference in how the crops are growing?
What do you think Hare will do next season? What about Bear?

Problem Solving:

Hare comes up with a plan to help his family survive. In doing so, Bear thinks that Hare is tricking him so he changes the rules of their partnership but comes up empty handed.

If you are interested in seeing other spring books to use in therapy, then check out the Seasonal Teaching Points Book List for a printable copy.