Inside, Outside, Upside Down
by Stan and Jane Berenstain

collaged images from Inside Outside Upside Down, Berenstain Bears

Stan and Jan Berenstain's Inside, Outside, Upside Down

Children's book review by Jane Finch

Ages 0-5

A children's book about spatial concepts

This is a simple story of a small bear who crawls inside a box and begins an adventure.

He finds a big cardboard box and climbs inside. Whilst he is inside a removal man (or bear in this case) comes and takes the box away and onto his truck.

The little bear finds himself inside, then upside down, then outside as the box is taken to the truck.

As the truck moves away, the box falls off the back and lands the right side up. The little bear then climbs out of the box and goes home to tell his mother all about his adventure.

This story is told in the form of an adventure and yet only uses a vocabulary of 23 words. It is therefore ideal as a beginner book. Indeed, it bears the trademark of Bright and Early Books for Beginning Beginners.

Inside, Outside, Upside Down is designed to appeal to the new reader. It has colourful and simple illustrations so that even a non-reading child will understand what is happening.

Cleverly, the box in question has labels on so that when it is upside down, it says so. When it is the right way up, it says so.

The simple story is so well designed that even a toddler will be able to follow what is happening.

Some pages only have one, two, or three words per page and yet the illustrations can be discussed so that the child can explain what is happening. The repetition of words helps pre-readers to become familiar with the sound and structure of the words.

In this particular book I like the fact that the little bear has no name. This helps to focus the story on what is happening to the box.

Inside, Outside, Upside Down is a concise story, but told in a simple fun way, and should appeal to toddlers and pre-readers as well as early readers who might also enjoy the adventure.

The motto of Beginner Books is “I can read it all by myself”. I think this is certainly the case with this book and it will give a child tremendous confidence when they find they can read a whole book, and follow an adventure, all on their own.

The simple story of Inside, Outside, Upside Down is bound to appeal. What child has not climbed inside a cardboard box and imagined all sorts of adventures?

Read more of Jane's reviews.

More Berenstain Bears.


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