cover image The Turnip

The Turnip

Pierr Morgan, Alice Dalgiesh, Katherine Milhous. Philomel Books, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22229-0

When the old farmer Dedoushka cannot extricate the turnip from the soil, he enlists the aid of his wife, Baboushka--but in vain. Granddaughter Mashenka lends a hand, and then Geouchka the dog and Keska the cat join in, all pulling and straining to no avail. In the end, it is the little field mouse that makes the crucial difference--an apt reminder of the value of all earnest efforts, both large and small. With its cumulative story line and succession of rhythmic Slavic names--delicious to roll around the tongue--this makes a perfect read-aloud. The illustrations, done in a resist technique, are elegant and somewhat stylized, yet full of motion, expression and warmth; they provide a vibrant extension to the story and a feeling for the Russian scene and costumes. Ages 3-8. (May)