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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
by Xu Zhou
Age Range: Under_5
Mouse is rather bookish; he lives amongst a pile of books enabling him to read lots of wonderful picture books. Take the ‘Gigantic Turnip’ for instance – he’s read many different versions and he thinks they’ve all got the story wrong. According to his uncle’s uncle’s uncle, the story was very different.
Chinese author and illustrator Xu Zhou has created a lovely humorous take on the familiar Russian fairy tale ‘The Giant Turnip’ by Tolstoy, translated by Adam Lanphier. As the familiar story unfolds: a grandfather plants a turnip that grows so large he can’t pull it out so he enlists the help of his entire family and one by one, they all join the line to help pull out the turnip to no avail. Here an alternative version is presented. Underground, there is a family of mice pulling the turnip from the other direction. In the end, the mice win the tug of war and are rewarded with the prize turnip.
The delicate, expressive and amusing watercolour artwork shows what’s going on above and below the ground at the same time. Picking Turnips is a refreshing twist on a traditional tale that is sure to capture children’s imagination.