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Grandma Lena's Big Ol' Turnip
     

Grandma Lena's Big Ol' Turnip

by Jackie Urbanovic (Illustrator), Denia Lewis Hester
 
Grandma Lena believes that something worth doing is worth doing right. So she takes good care of the turnips she plants in her garden.

One turnip grows to an enormous size-Baby Pearl thinks it's a big potato! It is big enough to feed half the town. And it's so big that Grandma can't pull it out of the ground! Even when Grandpa, Uncle Izzy, Aunt Netty, and the dog

Overview

Grandma Lena believes that something worth doing is worth doing right. So she takes good care of the turnips she plants in her garden.

One turnip grows to an enormous size-Baby Pearl thinks it's a big potato! It is big enough to feed half the town. And it's so big that Grandma can't pull it out of the ground! Even when Grandpa, Uncle Izzy, Aunt Netty, and the dog help Grandma yank and tug, the big ol' turnip doesn't budge.

Still, this African-American family, including Baby Pearl, knows how to pull together. Denia Lewis Hester's adaptation of an old Russian tale will delight the entire family.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Grandma Lena had a personal philosophy that anything worth doing was worth doing right. When she started a garden full of turnips, she took good care of it, and the result was a turnip so large that she had to enlist the help of Uncle Isadore, Aunt Netty, the dog, and even the baby to get the turnip out of the ground. This story was adapted from a Russian folk tale by Aleksey Tolstoy. This refreshing book teaches the lesson of the harvest, the value of hard work, and some traditional African-American cookery commonly known as "soul food". The expressive illustrations compliment the story well. One of the best illustrations is of all four adults tugging on the turnip greens. The expressions on the faces of the adults shows that they are pulling with all of their might. Children who are familiar with this neighborhood culture will be able to relate well with this story, and children who are not will learn the basic principles of planting a garden, and sharing the harvest with neighbors. 2005, Albert Whitman and Company, Ages 2 to 6.
—Nicole Peterson
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Adapted from Aleksey Tolstoy's "The Turnip," this tale about teamwork and sharing in an extended African-American family is bubbling with warmth and Southern-style cooking. When Grandma Lena is ready to pick her gargantuan vegetable, it will not budge. One by one, she enlists the help of her relatives, but it is only when Baby Pearl pitches in that the turnip is harvested, and then lovingly made into a soul-food feast for the neighborhood. Urbanovic's humorous watercolors are highlighted with charcoal detailing. The characters are delightful and each one has a great deal of individual expression and personality. Background details give a strong sense of setting. The illustrations of the growing vegetable take on outlandish proportions that readers will find funny and satisfying. The artist's use of perspective further enhances this rollicking story. Well written, charmingly illustrated, and with a new ethnic twist, this book is a first choice for libraries and an essential addition to collections of folktale variations. A great read-aloud, it also makes a natural introduction to units on seeds and growing, or gardening. Also, don't overlook the opportunities to discuss themes of cooperation, generosity, and community.-Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This "aw-shucks" rendition of the oft-retold "Giant Turnip" tale features a contemporary African-American extended family whose diaper-clad junior member exclaims "Uh-oh! Faw down!" when the huge turnip in Grandma's garden finally pops out, sending the line of pullers tumbling. Hester also takes the story further than usual by having Grandma Lena, depicted in Urbanovic's relaxed suburban scenes as a hefty matron with square eyeglasses and a wide smile, spending that night whipping up plenty of turnip stew, greens and corn bread for the rainbow coalition of neighbors who show up for next day's hole-filling-in party. Less formal in tone than versions closer to the Russian story generally ascribed to Tolstoy, and unique for its non-rural trappings, this is tellable enough to please young audiences-though the characters seem rather broadly rendered. (source note) (Picture book folktale. 6-8)
From the Publisher

"A great read-aloud, it also makes a natural introduction to units on seeds and growing, or gardening."

School Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807530238
Publisher:
Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date:
01/01/2005
Series:
Albert Whitman Prairie Paperback Ser.
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,325,871
Product dimensions:
10.80(w) x 7.38(h) x 0.13(d)
Age Range:
3 - 8 Years

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