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The Gigantic Turnip

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  304 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
A retelling of the classic Russian tale. The old man and his wife tug and heave at the giant turnip, to be joined by various animals and birds, until it finally comes up.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 1st 1999 by Barefoot Books (first published 1910)
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(showing 1-30 of 548)
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Emily Miller
This story retold from a traditional Russian tale about a farmer whose turnip is stuck in the ground and it is impossible to pull it out. I like the simplicity of this story and the repetition the author uses when all the characters come to help. I love how the author uses various styles of text to enhance his words. In the beginning of the story the author says that the old man and old woman live in a crooked house. He makes the letters in the word crooked curve in different ways. This story wo ...more
a lot of repetition, so good for younger children. very nice illustration for children transitioning to higher level books.
Bambini Travel
A charming and humorous counting book about an old man and a woman and their garden. Together they plant some vegetables in their garden. After the months pass, they decide one morning that it is time to harvest their plants and discover a gigantic turnip. They are surprised to find that they cannot move it, so they enlist their farm animals forming a comical line up of helpers. Niamh Sharkey's quirky illustrations bring to life this Russian tale with flare. Silly, but in a wonderfully warm way ...more
May 02, 2013 Priscilla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about children growing fruit and vegetables in the school’s garden and in early spring the children prepared the ground by digging and raking the soil. Later on in spring, they planted the seeds and during the summer the children fed, watered the plants and pulled out the weeds. When the children came back from their summer holiday they saw the turnip and could not believe their eyes. It was taller than a giraffe and wider than an elephant. When the teacher got over the shock of the ...more
Elise Xuereb
Apr 04, 2015 Elise Xuereb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: peer-teacher
This story is a classic Russian tale that has been retold by many. It is a story about a married couple who has planted their garden and now it is time to harvest their crop. All goes well with most of their vegetables except the turnip. Read on to find out what happens. This wonderful story teaches children about planting, counting, and animals. The illustrations in this book are also very vivid.

Genre: Cultural>Russia
Sep 01, 2011 Kay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: primary
This is a Russian folktale. It is quite a funny story about an old man and his wife who, with the help of the rain and the summer weather, grow vegetables in their garden including a gigantic turnip. However when the old man comes to harvest the turnip he finds he cannot pull it out of the ground. The old woman comes to help him and together they cannot remove it, even with the help of all the animals on the farm they cannot harvest the turnip until finally the mouse tags on the end of the line ...more
A Russian folktale “[f]irst recorded in the nineteenth century by Aleksei Tolstoy” (from the back of the dust cover), with Niamh Sharkey asserting only a “moral right . . . to be identified as the illustrator”. (Half title page verso) and what an illustrator she is. I don’t know if it was Molly Bang’s book or the essay by Jon Scieszka from A Family of Readers, or just this course as a whole, but I am finding that I am getting more out of the illustrations and design of picture books than I have ...more
Alexei Tolstoy’s The Enormous Turnip is a classic Russian folktale about an enormous turnip that is stuck in the ground. With the help of all the family members and even some farm animals they eventually free the enormous turnip from the ground!

The Enormous Turnip displays several different characteristics of a traditional literature book. First, this book is a folktale which is a characteristic of traditional literature. Second, this book has a short plot and fast paced action. Lastly, the boo
Jul 25, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
An old man and an old woman plant a garden with peas, carrots, potatoes, beans and turnips. When it is time to harvest the vegetables, they realize one of the turnips has grown to gigantic proportions. They pull and heave and tug and yank, but the turnip does not budge. They enlist the help of one big brown cow, two pot-bellied pigs, three black cats, four speckled hens, five white geese, and six yellow canaries, but the turnip does not budge. The old woman asks one more creature to help them pu ...more
Margaret Chind
Oct 29, 2014 Margaret Chind marked it as to-read
Recommended to Margaret by: Stories and Fables, Childcraft Encyclopedia
Excerpts and/or reprints included in Stories And Fables.
I read Jan Karon's version of this folk tale recently and there were quite a few differences. This one has more of an emphasis on counting and due to the illustration style is inherently more silly.
Beloved Girl
Jan 31, 2016 Beloved Girl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j1-j3
I like this story. But for kids who get easily bored about things, I don't recommend this. Illustrations of this book were nice except the last picture. I thought they were eating some turnip soup, but they didn't. Just sit around the table. I was a little disappointed about this.
Stacey Mulholland
This is my favorite Barefoot Books folktale. I love how everyone helps, even the little mouse. If you like Little Blue Truck, you'll enjoy this.
Miss Sarah
I didn't love this retelling but it is a solid story of many people working together to pull a giant turnip from the ground.
The Aleksei Tolstoy Gigantic Turnip story that every Russian kid knows by heart just did not resonate as well in translation.
The turnip was so gigantic that it took all the animals on the farm to pull it out of the garden. Very imaginative.
The Brothers
One of those repeating stories that add another element with each go through. The farmer and his wife are trying to pull up a gigantic turnip (thus the title) and they keep enlisting the help of their barnyard animals.

Fun illustrations.
Meghan Hunt
Sep 18, 2014 Meghan Hunt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: folk-fairy-tales
Thus is a fun, updated version of the classic Russian folktale.
Apr 10, 2011 Dolly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beginning readers and parents reading with them
We've read this story before, but it was the version illustrated by Niamh Sharkey. I think I prefer that one, but it's been awhile since we read it. And so when we saw this version on the shelf at our local library, we decided to go ahead and read it again. This version has a simple narrative that is good for beginning readers and vibrant illustrations that are reminiscent of C.F. Payne.
Robert Ellington
Read this tonight with Susan Faith. Really neat story.
May 27, 2011 Becky rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
The little old man, and the little old woman, and the brown cow, and the pigs, and the cats, and the geese all pulled and yanked on the turnip, and the turnip still would not come up. Now repeat that over and over again, until you're exhausted. I hated reading this book! I was so happy when it was over, and the stupid turnip finally came out. Of course, my son loved it though! He said it reminded him of Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman, a book his teacher read to his class last year before Hallowe ...more
Feb 02, 2013 Jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good, serviceable version of the familiar story. And haters, it's supposed to be repetitive.

I like the folksy illustrations, except for the orange turnip. Most kids aren't super familiar with turnips (you should talk about them and root veggies before reading) and can't we let it be its pretty little white with hints of purple self?

Good for preschool-1st, older graders if working on folktale unit
This retelling of a traditional Russian folktale employs an ever-popular theme with building numbers. An old man and old woman, unable to pull the gigantic turnip that has grown in their garden, enlist first their cow, then their 2 pigs, then their 3 cats, ... a list that goes on and on. The illustrations are fanciful and appealing. Young children will enjoy reading (or hearing it read) faster and faster.
Jan 23, 2014 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story. Kids loved it.
Maia Moore
Jun 10, 2016 Maia Moore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great telling of the classic tale, which beautiful illustrations to match. The story is told simply, with repetition and numbers. I remember there being more emphasis on how it's the mouse that helps get it out in he end - team work and every little helps and all that - but it's still pretty much the same story.
Sep 26, 2008 Tori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a favorite, for sure. The Tim-Burton-esque illustrations balance the simplicity of the story. The ending definitely lends a sense of balance in the universe. :)

Find this and other Barefoot Books at my website
This folklore about the old man and woman and their turnip is one of my favorites, but not this version. Basically it is the illustrations, especially the turnip which resembles a pumpkin more than a turnip. I'll keep looking for other versions I enjoy more.
Apr 12, 2010 Donna-Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children

You can now listen to this story via the Barefoot Books Podcast.
Sep 23, 2007 Elaine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
You got it -- a turnip so gigantic this farmer couple needed quite a lot of help to pull it out. The illustration is amazing, and the prose draws on repetition to entice the little ones, and throws in a bit of education on counting for good measure.
Jun 28, 2008 Dolly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading to young children
Fun story for the little ones - everyone can help! I have always enjoyed this tale and I was very excited to be able to share it with our girls. Classic story with wonderful illustrations!
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(Russian: Алексей Николаевич Толстой)

Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy, nicknamed the Comrade Count, was a Russian writer who wrote in many genres but specialized in science fiction and historical novels.
More about Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy...

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