Back to Front and Upside Down! by Claire Alexander (a Review)

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Back to Front and Upside Down (a review)


Back to Front and Upside Down! is a story about a little pup, Stan, who is afraid to ask his teacher for help. He is asked to write a message in a birthday card for his principle. As he tries to write the words, he realizes he needs help, but is afraid to ask his teacher because he thinks the other kids might laugh at him. He gets some good advice from a good friend, and finally has the courage to take the step up to the teacher’s desk, only to find out he may not be the only one!

My Thoughts

My 4 year old, Eli, picked this book out on his own accord at our local library’s beautiful display of recommended books for kids. I stuffed it in my handy library bag, and moved on to the next picks of the day (after all, I do have a 2 year old as well…. who loves to touch everything and run as fast as she can all the time). So we picked out a lot more and played a while in our awesome library littles play area. Have I mentioned before how much I love my local library? I really do. Really.

When we got home and unpacked the books, this was the first one my son went for and we read it right away. He clung to every word. He connected with Stan immediately, you see, Eli is also learning to write! Because we do homeschooling for preschool, Eli pointed out that I was like his teacher, and that if he needed help, he could always ask me! This led into some brilliant conversation about how to look for a grown up when you need help with writing, or reading, or math, or anything.

Another ingenious part of the story is how much his classmates supported little Stan. Stan wasn’t alone; other children needed help and were afraid to ask. He was brave, asked the teacher, and even helped other students along the way showing them it’s not so hard to ask. Perseverance prevails, and Stan and his friend continue to ask for help and continue to improve their writing skills!

The illustrations in Back to Front and Upside Down! are very engaging. As much as my 4 year old liked the story, my 2 year old loved the pictures!

Back to Front and Upside Down!  is beautiful for the early writer. For the eager learner or the reluctant child, this book encourages both and everyone in between.

Use This Book

Some themes that might go along with this book for preschool or kindergarten are:

  • writing
  • school
  • birthdays
  • friendship
  • animals

Find It In Your Library!

  • Book: Back to Front and Upside Down
  • Author/Illustrator: Claire Alexander
  • Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (June 6, 2012)
  • Format: Picture Book, Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0802854148
  • Genre: Juvenile Fiction
About Jenna Caldwell

Jenna is a stay at home mom to a 4 and 2 year old. She is passionate about engaging littles in play based learning and cuddling up to read as many books as they will listen to. She blogs when she is taking a break from activities and laundry:


  1. Am adding this to my list for my library run this week! Thanks!

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