Heavy Lifting! The Turnip by Jan Brett
BADGER GIRL SAW SOMETHING STRANGE GROWING IN THE GARDEN.
IT WAS THE BIGGEST TURNIP SHE HAD EVER SEEN!
We're not talking big. We're talking BIG!
Badger Girl's thoughts go straight to dreams of how many delicious dinners might come from such a ginormous turnip. Pottage of turnip! Turnip pie! She watches the turnip grow, just waiting for it to be ripe for the picking.
As the weather grows chill and a few snowflakes appear, Badger Girl's thoughts turn to harvesting the turnip. She snatches the stem and gives a tug.
It doesn't budge. Badger Boy flexes his mighty muscles and tells his sister to help him pull the turnip out of the ground. No progress.
"CHILDREN!" SAID MOTHER BADGER. "I CAN WRENCH THAT TURNIP RIGHT OUT THE THE GROUND WITH A TWIST AND SNAP!
WATCH AND LEARN!"
But the turnip doesn't move for Mama. Papa Badger laughs and has them all step aside for his turn, but Father fails, too.
Passersby offer to help. Forming a chain of yankers, Hedgie grabs the turnip top and gives it a heave-ho, but it's a NO GO! Adding Mr. Ram and Vanya the Horse to the chain of pullers is of no avail.
Finally a scrawny but cocky rooster, in a buoyant mood from having dodged the soup pot again, comes along and crows that he himself can easily pull up the turnip. The others are dubious, but he grips the stem in his beak....
Will the turnip stay in the ground until spring?
But careful readers or veteran Jan Brett fans will already know what's actually going to get that turnip out of the ground, in her latest, The Turnip (Penguin Group, 2015). As is her usual wont, Brett surrounds the action on each page with her familiar rococo frame, and appropriately in this case, it's a turnip-shaped frame, in the corners of which are vignettes which foreshadow the conclusion--the Bear family heading into their underground den only to find the root of an enormous turnip blocking their winter bed. Hibernation calls, and the bulky Bears come together to give it a shove straight up just at the right moment to make the braggadocious Rooster the hero of the tale.
And it's turnip pancakes for all, and a winter's worth of more delicious turnip dishes waiting in the Badger larder, in Brett's delightful cumulative tale, itself harvested from the Russian folktale The Enormous Turnip first penned by no less than Alexei Tolstoy. Embellished in Jan Brett's signature folkloric illustrative style, with the customary tasty detail, color, and crafty anthropormorphic caricatures of her feisty animal characters, this latest seasonal Brett treat is a fine feast for the winter holiday season by one of modern masters of the picture book art.