Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Little Story About a Big Turnip

A Little Story About a Big Turnip is a short version of an ancient folktale.
An early morning chill is hinting at my favorite season being just around the corner: Autumn. It is still late summer here in Farmerland, Iowa, and the fresh-harvested corn is just now beginning to brown on the remains of their stalks. Not quite ready to dive into the panoply of pumpkin-spiced tales, I wanted to share a fall-harvest vegetable themed story book based on a folktale about a different vegetable that has been passed down through the ages.

A Little Story About a Big Turnip holds a wonderful appeal for early preschool and up crowds. The book has a cast of likeable, rustic characters full of personality. There's a grandma and grandpa, a girl name Annie, her two pets, and a distracted little mouse who would rather be reading than doing anything else. The plot is simple and repetitive, which makes this book easy to join in.

And as you would expect, when they finally do pull out the giant turnip, you as the storyteller have the opportunity to make a sucking, slurping, popping sound. I hope you know what I mean. So practice up and maybe even invite your storytime crowd to do the same. The story is short and that part is a lot of fun!

Now to be sure, I don't know very many people who actually EAT turnips, but that is not the point.

Books to read with A Little Story About a Big Turnip

  • The Big Pumpkin by D. Schindler and Erica Silverman puts a Halloween twist on the giant turnip folktale.
  • The Gigantic Turnip by Aleksei Tolstoy and Niamh Sharkey is another version of my title pic. This book is lengthier, with zany illustrations ala James and the Giant Peach.
  • Growing Vegetable Soup or Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert.

Get the Kids Involved

  • Encourage children to repeat the refrain "but the turnip didn't come out."
  • Show the kids how to make a giant popping sound by licking your lips, then smacking them together. Now they can help you make a sound effect when the giant turnip leaves the ground.
  • Act the story out.

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