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The Gigantic Turnip Review by Marla G. Nowak

By Aleksei Tolstoy
Barefoot Books
2067 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140

The Gigantic Turnip, a Russian folktale, is an inviting story and one that will be requested often. This charming picture book creates conflict quickly for the reader. "Old man" and "old woman" sow some vegetable seeds, and the turnip grows with gusto. The couple, along with a menagerie of farm animals, tries to muster the strength to yank the stubborn turnip by its top. Strength in numbers does not work. Old woman has a plan. She gets the hungry little mouse that lives in their house to lend a paw.

The happy ending shows us that it's not always the powerful, but sometimes the mighty in spirit and determination that get the job done. The story is remarkably like The Enormous Carrot (which was based on The Gigantic Turnip). I like the carrot version just as well, if not better. But this is also a delightful read. "Please, please, read it again," is what you will hear if you purchase this book for your toddler or preschooler.

Product review by Marla G. Nowak, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2008