The Turnip

Story Summary

Badger Girl is amazed to find an enormous turnip in the garden, but how will they ever pull it out of the ground? Who can do the job?

Read The Turnip for new vocabulary, practice finding details in the illustrations, and a surprise ending.

Talk Before Reading

First question to ask when you show your child this book:

What’s a turnip?

Most young children probably won’t know what a turnip is, but asking the question models the thinking that readers do when we come across a new word. But you might be surprised–maybe he does know what a turnip is!

Show your child the cover and ask:

Can you find the giant turnip? It’s SO big! 

Even if he doesn’t recognized the word “turnip”, the clues of giant and big will help draw his attention to what is clearly the largest object in the picture: a turnip.

If you get a chance before reading this book, point out a turnip and its purple and white colors in the produce section while shopping. This will build a little background to prepare for his next exposure to a turnip–the cover of this book.  No worries, if it doesn’t work out to do this in advance, but when you have the opportunity to help build background information, grab it.

Remember when we saw a turnip at the grocery store the other day? The one we saw wasn’t THIS big!

Talk While Reading

This story invites close observation and plenty of conversation.

On the left panel, a wordless story unfolds in series of turnip-shaped illustrations. The bear family is getting ready for their winter’s sleep in what seems to be a completely separate story. Draw your child’s attention to these pictures.

Hey, what’s going on over here? What are the mama bear and her cubs doing?

Understanding the activities of the bears in this little story on the side will help the surprise ending make sense.

After the turnip is finally pulled, ask:

What does the rooster think happened? What about the Badger family and all their friends–what do they think happened with the turnip? What really happened?

Talk Later

Visit the turnips again in the produce department after reading The Turnip. Talk about the size. Which is the largest? Do you see any giant turnips? How much room would it take to have Badger Girl’s giant turnip for sale in this store?

On that same visit to the produce department, help your child name more vegetables that grow underground: potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, beets and others.


The Turnip by Jan Brett. G. P. Putnam’s Sons. 2015.

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