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Grandma Lena's Big Ol' Turnip (Aesop Accolades (Awards))

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  46 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews

Grandma Lena takes good care of the turnips she plants in her garden. One turnip grows so big that Grandma can't pull it out of the ground! Even when Grandpa, Uncle Izzy, and the dog help Grandma yank and tug, the big ol' turnip doesn't budge.

Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 30th 2005 by Albert Whitman & Company (first published January 1st 2005)
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Christina Koester
Apr 18, 2016 Christina Koester rated it it was amazing
The book Grandma Lena's Big Ol' Turnip by Denia Lewis Hester is in the genre of picture books and for ages around four to seven years old. The book was about Grandma Lena planting turnips in her garden. She had planted a whole bunch and there had been one big turnip growing taller than the other ones and everyone had to help grandma Lena pull out the big turnip. The reason that I rated the book the way I did was because I felt the book was very engaging and bringing in eyes of readers and of you ...more
Melissa Stasi
My overall reaction of this book was that it was very funny and any student would laugh at the fact that a turnip would grow to be that huge. The colors are bright and colorful and only a few sentences are on each page. This sentence structure would make it easy for maybe a preschooler to first grader to enjoy. The words are all simple except for a few such as, "grunted," "jerked,"and "enormous." The moral of the story is repeated throughout the book stating that if you do something, you must do ...more
Amanda Andrews
Sep 26, 2013 Amanda Andrews rated it it was amazing
Book Title: Grandma Lena’s Big Ol’ Turnip by Denia Hester

Short Description of the Book: In this variation of the classic Russian folktale, Grandma Lena plants some special turnip seeds in her garden. One turnip grows especially well and Grandma Lena has to enlist the help of her entire family to get that turnip out of the ground.

FOCUS: Narrative Features I would use in a Mini-Lesson

1.) Repeated Line: Hester uses a few repeated lines within the text of her story. At various points in the story G
Grandma Lena spent all winter looking at turnip seed catalogs. Now it's spring and planting time. As the turnip plants grow one in particular is quite large. As Grandma Lena tries to pull it out of the ground she realizes that she needs help. She calls for Grandpa. Grandpa pulls on Grandma but the turnip won't budge. So the story continues as Grandma Lena calls on each member of the family to help out. Finally, when Grandma calls for Rascal the dog to help out (and baby Pearl helps out) the turn ...more
A retelling of the Russian folktale "The Turnip." In this version, Grandma Lena does her research and settles on the Purple Top variety of turnip to plant in her garden. She calls on the help of her family to harvest the gigantic turnip that sprouts and turns the efforts of all their hard labor into a delicious meal.

Detailed paintings bring the garden and all of the individual members of Lena's family to life. Their facial expressions help readers get a feel for their personalities though they a
Jenny Young
Jul 07, 2011 Jenny Young rated it really liked it
Grades K-3


African-American; The South

Illustrations look like they were drawn with pencil and colored with watercolors.

Personal response:
The story is adapted from a Russian folktale. I enjoyed the repetition of sentences in the book and think it would be great for younger children. I also love all of the cultural reference to Southern homestyle cooking. Grandma Lena's Big Ol' Turnip is just a fun book.

Curricular or programming connections:
This book would
Feb 07, 2011 Sheniece rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture
This book will be a good book to add to your cultural collection on your bookshelf in your classroom. The grandmother uses the turnip she planted to make some southern dishes that we all call "soul food." The dishes she make and the way in which she prepares them are similar to the way the African American culture prepare certain dishes such as corn bread muffins, turnip stew with potatoes, carrots and peas, and even turnip greens cooked in bacon and onions. It's a very enjoyable book that opens ...more
What a shame my grandparent Book Time is already planned! I discovered this book in my pile of "rain" books. And it's a good one! It would have been a fun one to tell. And the build-on tale was not boring, either. I liked that the family worked together and that the neighborhood came together to enjoy. Maybe I can use it some other time...
Nov 18, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a good adaptation of the old folk tale. It is still a story about gardening and harvest, but family members provide all of the help instead of the family plus farm animals. The language and rhythm is fun and engaging for young audiences.
Sep 27, 2013 CFAITC added it
Shelves: primary
Grandma Lena grows a turnip so big that she needs help pulling it out of the ground and eating it.
Apr 18, 2013 Jen rated it really liked it
Shelves: pb, storytime, silly
Silly. Repetitive. Slightly long, nice for older kids storytime.
Mandy J. Hoffman
May 26, 2009 Mandy J. Hoffman rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
A fun story about a woman who grows a huge turnip.
Aug 31, 2012 Wanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
funny, great illustrations
Nov 03, 2010 Misha rated it it was amazing
Great read-aloud.
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