Review: Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes


From the publisher:

Age Range: 7 – 10 years

Grade Level: 2 – 5

Lexile Measure: 570

Series: Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker (Book 1)

Paperback: 160 pages

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion


Beatrice does her best thinking upside down.

Hanging from trees by her knees, doing handstands . . . for Beatrice Zinker, upside down works every time. She was definitely upside down when she and her best friend, Lenny, agreed to wear matching ninja suits on the first day of third grade. But when Beatrice shows up at school dressed in black, Lenny arrives with a cool new outfit and a cool new friend. Even worse, she seems to have forgotten all about the top-secret operation they planned!

Can Beatrice use her topsy-turvy way of thinking to save the mission, mend their friendship, and flip things sunny-side up?




I read this aloud with my 4.5 year old son. It’s longer than the other chapter books we’ve been reading recently, but there are lots of illustrations and we read a couple chapters at a time.  It has been one of my favorites that I’ve read with my son!  Some aspects of it were over his head, but he still really enjoyed it.

I thought it was a really cute and clever story. I thought the struggle she went through of having her friendship with her best friend change was a very realistic struggle for kids of her age. It’s not something my son really understands much yet, but there was plenty else in the story that interested him. There were some poignant moments with Beatrice in her relationships with friends and families. I liked the creative solutions Beatrice found, that allowed her and her friend to make some compromises but not taking away the unique person Beatrice was. The cleverness came through Beatrice’s quirky character and all the plays on being an ‘upside down thinker.’

For me this was one of those children’s books that I was just as invested and interested in what was happening as my son. We were both excited to read some more of the story each time we picked it up. Win-win!

I’m glad to see there will be more of Beatrice’s adventures coming and we’ll definitely be picking up any sequels.


Book 2 comes out September 2018!


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