Type Book
Date 1968
Tags picture book, children's book, vocabulary builder, fiction

Inside Outside Upside Down

The Berenstain Bears

Inside Outside Upside Down is a 'Bright and Early Book for Beginning Beginners', according to the cover. It's aimed at very early readers--or, probably, children who can't read quite yet--and teaches prepositions: inside, outside, and upside down (and a few others).

The story in this one is extremely simple--it's main purpose is to teach a few words, not to tell a story. Small Bear gets in a box, the box is put on a truck by Papa Bear, the box falls off the truck, and Small Bear exits the box and goes home.

The writing is necessarily simple; some pages contain only a single word. There's lots of repetition (on three pages: "Inside a box", "Upside down", and "Inside a box/Upside down", and eventually "Going to town/On a truck/Outside/Inside a box/Upside down"), which I expect may help even those who cannot yet read to begin to learn the words.

The art is not as good as the other Berenstain Bears books. The lines are very simple, and there is little color. I suspect that the lack of color may have been intentional--by coloring only the important objects that relate to the text, it could make it a little clearer what each of the words mean. Even so, it leaves the book looking very dull and empty.

Although the book isn't exactly bad (and I do like the end: "Mama! Mama!/I went to town./Inside,/Outside,/Upside down!"), there isn't very much to it. I learned to read young enough that I can no longer recall a time when this book would have been challenging to me--certainly it would have be long (relatively) before I entered school. As far as word books for young readers go, I prefer (for example) Clifford's Word Book, which has a great variety of words with illustrations for each. I remember liking such books when I was much younger. Inside Outside Upside Down is just a bit too simple, in my opinion. It's available for Kindle, which I approve of (how nice it would be to have a good selection of books--including children's books--so readily available), but there are simply better books. I wouldn't get this one unless you're feeling nostalgic.

Name Role
Jan Berenstain Author
Stan Berenstain Author