The Enormous Turnip

Turnips (Brassica rapa)Image via WikipediaThe Enormous Turnip written by Alexei Tolstoy and illustrated by Scott Goto is a great book beginner readers who need a little help. Are you familiar with the story? It's one of our favorites.

"They pull and pull, but will they ever pull that turnip up?"

The book begins with...

"Once upon a time, an old man planted a little turnip. "Grow, grow, little turnip - grow sweet! he said.

"Grow, grow, little turnip - grow strong!" And the turnip grew up sweet and strong and... enormous.

What I especially like are the end notes about activities in the back. The book is for ages 5-7; Grades 1-2.

* Write a story like The Enormous Turnip.

1. Choose a vegetable or fruit.
2. Think of five characters who will help each other.
3. Use your imagination to write a story about these five characters working together to pull up or pick the vegetable or fruit.
4. Draw pictures to go with your story.
Share your story with a friend!

* Play a memory game with friends!

1. Sit in a circle.
2. The first person says, "I pulled up the turnip with 
help from a _." Fill in the blank with something, such 
as dog.
3. The next person repeats what was said and adds someting else. That person might say, "I pulled up the turnip with help from a dog and a cat."

Paperback $7.99 and w/CD is $9.99

The Gigantic Turnip

Find out what happens when the old woman, the old man, and all twenty-one animals on the farm try to harvest a rather large root vegetable. This well-loved Russian tale uses humor, counting and repetition to appeal to beginner readers. Book with CD editions include story read by Ellen Verenieks.
Ages 3 to 7 years
Written By: Aleksei Tolstoy
Illustrated By: Niamh Sharkey
Narrated By: Ellen Verenieks

I love this story because it is solid in the message, entertaining and educational. Plus, the theme helps kids to 
understand that their actions can make a difference.  

Learn to tell The Gigantic Turnip in a lively and
entertaining way using these storytelling tips!

Activity by Linda Evans:

Show the children the bag of vegetables. 

Ask them if they know what is in the bag. 
Get them to guess. 
Take out the vegetables one by one. 
Finally, ask if anyone knows which one is the turnip. 
They usually won’t know, so make sure to point it out. 
Read the story aloud. 
Ask the children to listen carefully. 
They will be acting out the parts of the story the second time around, so they need to pay attention!

Now you should assign roles to each child
You will need 6 yellow canaries, 5 white geese, 4 black cats, 2 pot-bellied pigs, 1 big brown cow, 1 old man, 1 old woman and one mouse. 
And of course you’ll need to ask another adult or teacher to play the gigantic turnip! 

Next, get the rope and line up the children in order of the story.
They will pull on one end of the rope and the gigantic turnip
will pull on the other. 


1 group of children
1 enthusiastic adult
1 rope (six feet or longer)
1 bag of vegetables
(preferably the ones in the

Read the story for the second time. As each child’s character is called, he or she will make his or her
way up to the rope and help pull. Eventually, all the children will pull at the rope and finally succeed
at uprooting the gigantic turnip.
Sit down with all the children and discuss the story. Ask them who it was that pulled up the turnip? Was it the old man? The big brown cow? Was it the mouse? No! You can explain that it was everyone working as a team that succeeded in pulling up the gigantic turnip! 

To order the book and see more images, visit my marketplace.

Happy Reading,


“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” — C. S. Lewis

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