Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker

REVIEW: Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes


Beatrice Zinker is an unusual child. She prefers to live life upside down. Hanging from trees or bunk beds, tipping over to see how things look from another perspective. Beatrice is happy to be unusual, even if it makes her sister say “Oh no” and her mom say “Now what?” with some regularity.

Beatrice becomes pretty well known for her unique approach to life. Her second grade teacher even gives her an award at the end of the year for being the “Best Upside Down Thinker.” And this gives Beatrice a great idea for a secret mission for 3rd grade with her best friend, Lenny.

But on the first day of third grade, nothing goes the way Beatrice planned. Lenny doesn’t wear her ninja outfit, and she has a new friend from her neighborhood. Chloe wants to play veterinarian, and Lenny wants to do that rather than help Beatrice. What’s going to happen to the secret mission now?


This is a cute transitional chapter book for kids learning to read longer-than-picture-book stories. Beatrice is a sweet character (the illustrations for this book are absolutely darling), earnest, and completely committed to seeing the world in her own unique way.

Stories like this often have main characters feeling left out, afraid of losing a friend, wondering if she should change to keep her friend. While Beatrice does feel left out and tries some things to keep connected to both Lenny and Chloe, she never questions who she is. Which is awesome! Beatrice is determined to be true to herself AND keep her friend. There’s a great lesson there.

This will make for a good early elementary series. Beatrice’s teacher has her hands full but will hopefully come to appreciate Beatrice like her second grade teacher did. The secret mission is great, and I’m eager to see how that develops in future books.

Thanks to Disney-Hyperion and Netgalley for an electronic review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: ♥♥♥½