Picture Book Weekends: The Gigantic Turnip

I have now been without my computer for four days. It has seemed to make every single task just that much more excruciatingly painful. Even things I would normally just check on my phone made me pause, as I thought about how nice it would be to see it on a bigger screen. I am currently typing on a teeny, tiny laptop that drives me out of my tree. My fingers feel too big for the keys. The cursor seems to jump at will. Yes, I am being a total baby about it. I know. I just miss my friend.

giganticturnip But, I still have minutes to post my weekend entry. And so, today’s picture book is “The Gigantic Turnip” by Aleksei Tolstoy and Niamh Sharkey.

This book was published by Barefoot Books in the late 1990s. This was a great bookstore/publisher that was located in Cambridge, Mass. and England. A few years back their Cambridge location moved to Concord and, sadly, then closed down the bricks and mortar shop. Fortunately their books, including this one, are still available online.

This is the kind of book that simply begs to be read aloud.

In the story, an old woman and old man live on a farm with their collection of animals. When it is time to harvest their crops they discover that in addition to their regular plants, they have grown an absolutely outrageously enormous turnip. They call upon each of their animals to help them pull this turnip from the ground. And, as often happens, it is only with the help of the smallest, that they can finally complete the job.

giganticturnip_hcwcd1The prose is lyrical to my ear. I love the way the typeface varies in size and sometimes reflects movement and action in the book. The artwork is true to the spirit, simple in form with natural colors. The whole look reminds me of books from my childhood, very traditional and inviting.

This is one of those books that I’ve read to my kids for years and I expect I’ll continue to share for a long time, as its classic nature will ensure that it doesn’t feel dated.


Published by Katrina Ávila Munichiello

KAM is a freelance writer, editor, and lifelong lover of books. She was the kind of kid who woke up before sunrise to read before school and her passion for books has never waned. After nearly a decade of work in public health and the non-profit sector, she became a stay-at home mom. The twelve years since have allowed her discover a new life’s ambition — writing. She published her first book “A Tea Reader: Living Life One Cup at a Time,” a collection of essays written by tea lovers around the world, in 2011, and has had articles and essays featured in outlets including Yankee Magazine and Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. She served as Senior Editor of Tea Magazine. She currently writes picture books and middle grade books and is loving every minute of making them better. She is a member of NESCBWI, Vice President of Friends of the J.V. Fletcher Library and advisor of an elementary school Newspaper Club.

4 thoughts on “Picture Book Weekends: The Gigantic Turnip

  1. I’ve read that beautiful book at your house! I, too, loved the colors, the print, the drama of it! And mostly, I loved reading it with my grandchildren;)
    Thank you!

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