Boo's Picture Gallery, Book Reviews

A Chapter Experiment: Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker

We attempted a chapter book!! This is closer to his technical reading age and boy was this surprising! How? Read on to see…

My 10-year old nephew and I read books together every week and he draws a picture from the pages that captures his fancy. As a budding bookworm, artist and a child with an autistic aphasia we bond through stories and art.


Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker

by Shelley Johannes
Published September 19th 2017
by Disney-Hyperion

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Beatrice Zinker does everything better upside down! Over summer break she’s missing her best friend, Lenny, but they have a top secret plan once school is back in session! Only Lenny doesn’t come in a matching ninja suit on the first day of third grade… no! She’s totally different with not only a cool new look but also a cool new friend… and there doesn’t seem to be a place for Beatrice.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Boos Art from this Book graphic

Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker drawing

Rating art mediumpencil and colored pencils

Green Blue Watercolor Ball Line

A super upside down GIRL story!

I saw this on netgalley and it is the right reading age for my nephew so I thought we’d give it a go. My nephew really enjoyed reading a “bigger book” and said he liked it because it was funny. He didn’t enjoy it the entire time we read though and struggled with making it to the end. The mass of words were too much for him and I had to switch and read one page and let him read a page, back and forth. It became less of a chore for him this way! If you have a child transitioning up from picture books this story is fun and zany and makes for a story that holds the interest of both parent and child.

The illustrations were wonderful and helped me hold my nephew’s interest in the beginning! They really gave Beatrice tons of personality!! I honestly didn’t find Beatrice believable as a character. Her entire motivation didn’t seem to come from her as a person so much as an outside agenda. And Beatrice is so out there that I sympathized with Lenny! Once I went along with this other agenda I struggled less to get along with Beatrice. Don’t get me wrong I liked WHO Beatrice was as a person, her insistence on doing things differently and her enjoyment in focusing on the individual. This disconnect for me probably stems from me being an adult and not a child!

“Just because I’m upside down doesn’t mean everyone has to be. Isn’t that the whole point?”

While I found Beatrice’s conclusions a stretch her idea to befriend Chloe or lose Lenny teaches a great lesson, especially for girls who naturally have interpersonal problems. Different is okay and why not all be friends! Be accepting of everyone’s differences… ALL worthy messages. These can cause a discussion (especially with a girl) as they are all ideals that can be applied to a child’s life.

We both struggled in the beginning as there seemed to be 3 chapters about breakfast! It just took a long time to setup who Beatrice is… but once we got to school it got much better. For the most part I was taken with the story as I wondered what this top secret mission was all about! Once you learn Beatrice’s plan and see how she wins over Lenny again you are totally invested in the story.

“Why don’t you want to be a ninja?”

“Why can’t you just be a cat?”

The friendship between Beatrice and Lenny seemed real to how girls are as far as how they grow distant from one another and fall out of their relationship. It really struck home to me even as an adult that there could be a different way for things to turn out!

Beatrice’s family is a strong presence in her life. She makes strides with her totally opposite sister due to what she learns with Lenny. And her dad was super cute! He has the idea to have dessert first ala Beatrice upside down due to her bad day! They got pineapple upside down cake!

“Almost as good as bacon.”

That is a dad! Knows just what you need when life gets you down, not overprotective but sympathetic.

Age Range: 11-14 years

Rating Heart Hot PinkRating Heart Striped PurpleRating Heart Green GrungeRating Heart Orange Empty

Can Grow with a Child? Rating No
Message Driven Story? Rating Yes!
Worthy of a Home Library? Rating Yes!
Appropriate for Special Needs? Rating No

Green Blue Watercolor Ball Line


6 thoughts on “A Chapter Experiment: Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker”

  1. This is a super cute bonding activity! It sounds like your nephew struggles with reading due to his autistic aphasia? How bad is it? It makes me so happy to see you helping him along with this activity. Plus, this book is adorable! How do you two co-read a digital book?

    1. It’s such a great bonding activity! Aphasia is when you don’t record words properly in your brain. He has to use a word MANY times to know how to use it… for example he didn’t call me aunt or Dani for years! He had to be told over and over every day. Now he knows I’m aunt Dani but he still doesn’t really know what an aunt is or what Dani means.

      This is a super adorable book! We sit next to one another and flip the digital pages. I’d read then when I wanted him to read I’d point to the first word of the paragraph. ♥️ This wasn’t a read a long book but if it was we’d read the book first then listen to it together, that’s super fun!

      1. Wow. That must be so hard for everyone. Your poor Nephew. It must be challenging for him to see others understanding and using words when he doesn’t make those connections. He’s super lucky to have you as an Aunt! 😀

        Ooh, that’s a great idea– reading then listening. Do you think that helps reinforce the meaning of the words? I can’t wait to see more posts like this!

      2. Oddly he gets more out of a recording than a human voice… not sure why that is, but because of that the read a longs are great. I’m not sure my nephew understands that he doesn’t understand…? But he does get very blue when he can’t interact with other children… it makes his dad angry when kids take advantage essentially cutting his son off who would treat him kindly. ♥️

  2. I do love that idea of reading a page for him and then letting him read a page. It does definitely help progress-wise! It’s also awesome that you guys went with a bigger book too! Glad to see it was enjoyed and wasn’t a dealbreaker!

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