November 16, 2015
The Turnip by Jan Brett
by Jan Brett
G.P. Putnam’s and Sons
The time has come to weed and harvest the last of the vegetable garden and Badger Girl is working away when she sees something odd in the garden — an enormous turnip. She tries to pull it out but it is simply too big. Along comes Badger Boy and he offers to help but the results are much the same.
The turnip is stuck fast.
In a cummulative process, one animal after another offers to help. You get a rooster, a goat, a horse and Mama and Papa. As they work, they dream of mashed turnip, turnip soup and turnip pie.
As they work, it starts to snow. It’s vital that they get the turnip out of the ground because once the ground freezes the turnip will be stuck tight. When a homeless rooster comes along, he pitches in to add his might to the effort.
If you’re at all familiar with Jan Brett’s books, you know that there is one story told in the text and the main illustrations. But framed to the side of each painting is a window on another story. In this case as you read about the giant turnip and the badger family, you see a bear famiy heading into their home for the winter — it is, after all, snowing.
They discover that the turnip has grown way down deep and is in their bed. If they don’t get it out they won’t have anywhere to sleep.
I’m not going to give away the ending but Brett manages to tie the two stories together in an altogether satisfactory way.
We started reading Jan Brett when my son, now 16, was a preschooler so I was excited when I spotted this title on the NEW book shelf at the library.
If you have a young reader in your life, pick up a few of Brett’s books. They are wild or rowdy but sweet and satisfying. Her painting give the stories the feel of traditional fairy tales and are a feast all on their own.
Share them with your young reader today.