Grandma Lena's Big Ol' Turnip (Albert Whitman Prairie Books (Paperback)) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-10-31 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 9 user ratings

" Silly. Repetitive. Slightly long, nice for older kids storytime. " said.

" Grandma Lena grows a turnip so big that she needs help pulling it out of the ground and eating it. " said.

" 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. " said.

" 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... " said.

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 be good for cultural lesson on The South and Southern food.
" said.

"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 are not mentioned in text.

Overall, a great read about gardening, family and food.
" said.

"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 turnip pops out of the ground.

Historical info on the original Russian folktale is included, as well as a note on the author's adapted version.
" said.

"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 Grandma Lena says “Anything worth doing is worth doing right”, and Baby Pearl continually calls the turnip a “big potato”. By using repeated lines in their writing, students can add an true storytelling element that make their stories feel like those we would read in real books.

2.) Narrative Structure: The folktale structure of this story could be inspirational to students to try in their own fiction writing. Students could take a real-life event, add imaginary characters and plot, and write a story where they keep adding more characters to help the main character solve a problem.

Teach: CCSS W.1.3 Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.
" said.

November 2018 New Book:

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