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GRANDMA LENA’S BIG OL’ TURNIP by Denia Lewis Hester

GRANDMA LENA’S BIG OL’ TURNIP

By Denia Lewis Hester (Author) , Jackie Urbanovic (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-8075-3027-1
Publisher: Whitman

This “aw-shucks” rendition of the oft-retold “Giant Turnip” tale features a contemporary African-American extended family whose diaper-clad junior member exclaims “Uh-oh! Faw down!” when the huge turnip in Grandma’s garden finally pops out, sending the line of pullers tumbling. Hester also takes the story further than usual by having Grandma Lena, depicted in Urbanovic’s relaxed suburban scenes as a hefty matron with square eyeglasses and a wide smile, spending that night whipping up plenty of turnip stew, greens and corn bread for the rainbow coalition of neighbors who show up for next day’s hole-filling-in party. Less formal in tone than versions closer to the Russian story generally ascribed to Tolstoy, and unique for its non-rural trappings, this is tellable enough to please young audiences—though the characters seem rather broadly rendered. (source note) (Picture book folktale. 6-8)