The Gigantic Turnip: Aleksei Tolstoy, Stella Blackstone & Niamh Sharkey (Barefoot Books, 1998)
Is it terrible to admit that I didn’t know that this story was written by Tolstoy? I guess I thought it was just a generic folk tale that had been around forever, like Little Red Hen (although on Googling I can’t find a definitive answer as to whether Tolstoy just rewrote the folktale or actually made it up!) The text for this version has actually been written by Stella Blackstone, and I think it’s a shame that she’s only credited on the copyright page rather than on the front cover as it’s her words we’re actually reading.
This is an excellent version of the story, starting with an old man and an old woman planting vegetables, and building up the addition of more and more animals trying to pull up the turnip once it has grown. It includes counting from one to six, a menagerie of farm animals, glorious repetition and illustrations to drool over. I am a fan of current Irish Children’s Laureate, Niamh Sharkey’s art and the humour in these illustrations is gorgeous.
This is a beautifully made book too. It’s a total cliché to fall in love with Barefoot Books, but I suppose there is a reason for that. I am getting very close to jumping in and signing up as an Ambassador for them to be honest.
The book also comes with a CD of the story being read as standard. Personally I’m not an aural person and my children don’t listen unless a real person is reading to them so CDs don’t work for us but it’s an added bonus for children who do like audio stories.
This is one of the best versions of the story I’ve read, and has been picked out by Darling-Girl as one of her bedtime stories for the last few nights since I collected all the unreviewed books together and she rediscovered it!
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of The Gigantic Turnip by Barefoot Books as part of the BritMums Oxford meetup. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.