The Turnip by Jan Brett

I'm a huge Jan Brett fan and so are most of my students. She does a fabulous job retelling Russian folktales (with her own twist) and this book is no exception.

The Turnip by Jan Brett. Book review with activities.

by Jan Brett
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2015
Ages 3 to 6
Turnips, Animals, Folktales

Synopsis (from the book flap): Imagine finding a giant turnip growing in a vegetable garden. 

Badger Girl struggles to pull it up, dreaming of pancakes and pies. Badger Boy tries to help her. More animals join the line, each one bragging that he will pull it out. But htey can't budge the giant turnip.

Just as a bear family gets ready for their winter's sleep in a den right under the turnip, Rooster struts over and says that he can pull up the turnip all by himself.

Will he be able to do it?

Opening Lines: Badger Girl was weeding the vegetable patch when she saw something strange growing in the garden.

The Turnip by Jan Brett. Book review with activities.

Why I Like This Book: The Turnip is, of course, a retelling of a well-known Russian folktale, but nothing beats Brett's gorgeous illustrations. I love the color and detail she puts into her illustrations, as well as the borders and little "sneak peek" pictures.

The book is shorter than most of her other stories and I have to admit there are a couple of spots where it feels like she could have added an extra page or two, but despite these minor flaws this cumulative tale is charming and fun with a wonderful surprising little twist at the end. 

Book Extensions:
  1. Read many versions of the Turnip and compare the stories, possibly using a Venn diagram.
  2. Plant some turnips in your garden.
  3. Purchase some turnips and make turnip pancakes (just like in the story). I've never tried them myself but I love potato pancakes so I'm pretty sure they'd be delicious. Here's one version to try.
  4. Read all of Jan Brett's books to find your favorite!

Be sure to read my other Jan Brett posts:
The Ginger Baby

If you're looking for more book reviews, be sure to check out Perfect Picture Book Friday with Susanna Hill. 

Happy Reading!

The Turnip by Jan Brett. Book review with activities.


8 comments

  1. And here I'd thought that I'd seen all of Brett's work. My son used to have quite a collection. Just put it on hold at the library. Thanks!

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    1. That's exactly how I felt when I found this book! I can't get enough of her stories:)

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  2. I love all of her books. This one included. Glad to see it featured as a #PPBF.

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    1. Her books are so charming and you can spend hours pouring over the detailed illustrations.

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  3. I love Jan's book - and her illustrations just draw us into the page. Thanks for sharing this one.

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    1. Hey, you're welcome, Sue! Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. I love Jan Brett, but somehow have missed this great story. Her illustrations are always so fabulous! Thanks for sharing. Love to give her books as gifts.

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    1. I'm not sure how I missed it either!?!
      Thanks for visiting.

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