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The Gigantic Turnip

gigantic turnipAleksei Tolstoy, Niamh Sharkey (illus)
Barefoot Books
Age 3-7

This is a prizewinning version of a well- loved traditional tale, beautifully told in words and pictures.  The quirky humour, repetition and strongly patterned sequence of events engage children’s interest and support them as readers. There’s lots to talk about and enjoy together in this story of an enormous turnip that needs a whole cast of characters to work together to pull it from the ground.



Share the storyen_turnip_drawing

Read aloud
Read the story aloud, talking together about the pictures as you do. Talking about the book deepens children’s enjoyment and understanding of the story

Join in
Read the story again and leave spaces for children to join in, especially the repeated parts of the story.

Tell the story
After hearing the story a few times, children will get to know it well. Encourage them tell it to you in their own words, using some words and phrases remembered from the story, and using the pictures to help them.

Watch a musical version of the story


Things to make and do 

Story play
Children can use toys for the characters to act out the story. It’s a really good way for them to get to know the story well and to retell it, and helps to build their confidence with books.

You could also act it out with the whole family and a pretend turnip in the ground or on the floor!

Count the characters
Count the number of characters that helped to pull the pumpkin out of the ground. Use animal toys to help you count together out loud.

Draw a picture

Draw a picture of everyone helping to pull the turnip out of the ground

Write a letter
Write a letter to the animals asking for their help. Choose one animal, explain what the problem is and why they would be a good helper.

Make a vegetable picture
Paint or print vegetables, including a turnip, if you can. Click here for hints. You can label them, display and admire.

Find out more

Grow vegetables
Plant turnips or other vegetables in the garden, flowerpot or a window box. Water the seeds  and watch them grow. Take photographs of your plants growing and keep a record. Pull them out when they are fully grown and ready. Find out more here.