cover image The Turnip

The Turnip

Jan Brett. Putnam, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-17070-6

Brett follows Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella with another trip to Mother Russia, where a badger family has discovered a huge turnip growing in their garden. As snow begins to fall, they realize that the freak vegetable could be the source of many tasty turnip dishes during the long winter. But no one can get the turnip to budge, even as the four family members and assorted animal passersby form an ever-growing turnip extraction conga line. Then Rooster, who “had just had a close call with a cooking pot and was looking for a new home,” offers his help. Thanks to a clever twist that diverges from the original Russian folktale (and that only readers can see), “the turnip flew out of the ground with Rooster riding high.” This is good old-fashioned storytelling, as deeply satisfying as “turnip pancakes browned in butter for all.” Brett’s customary visual sumptuousness evokes Russian folk art, while also providing readers with narrative “Easter Eggs”—if they pay close attention to the action that unfolds in the two turnip-shaped frames that flank the main images. Ages 3–5. (Nov.)