Evanston Public Library Friends – Evanston Public Library
Auction Ends: Jun 2, 2010 11:59 PM CDT

Local Authors

Granma Lena's Big Ol' Turnip - Paperback

Item Number
$20 USD to Hankenstein
Number of Bids
8  -  Bid History

Item Description


Donated by famed writer/illustrator Jackie Urbanovic, who describes herself as an ‘Author / Illustrator / Cowgirl’, and signed by author Denia Lewis Hester!  She uses the humorous and the quirky  to bring her stories to life, be it in the role of Author or in the role of Illustrator.  She has published 48 books, and her work has earned her numerous awards.  You might be familiar with her series of books about Max the Duck, The Bully Blockers Club, The 10 Best Things about my Dad, etc.  Granma Lena’s big Ol’ Turnip received the 2005 Aesop Accolades award, and is a great story about teamwork, love, and patience.



PreSchool-Grade 2–Adapted from Aleksey Tolstoy's "The Turnip," this tale about teamwork and sharing in an extended African-American family is bubbling with warmth and Southern-style cooking. When Grandma Lena is ready to pick her gargantuan vegetable, it will not budge. One by one, she enlists the help of her relatives, but it is only when Baby Pearl pitches in that the turnip is harvested, and then lovingly made into a soul-food feast for the neighborhood. Urbanovic's humorous watercolors are highlighted with charcoal detailing. The characters are delightful and each one has a great deal of individual expression and personality. Background details give a strong sense of setting. The illustrations of the growing vegetable take on outlandish proportions that readers will find funny and satisfying. The artist's use of perspective further enhances this rollicking story. Well written, charmingly illustrated, and with a new ethnic twist, this book is a first choice for libraries and an essential addition to collections of folktale variations. A great read-aloud, it also makes a natural introduction to units on seeds and growing, or gardening. Also, don't overlook the opportunities to discuss themes of cooperation, generosity, and community.– Mary Hazelton, School Library Journal

K-Gr. 2. This story, part familiar folktale, part soul-food celebration, is a vibrant way for children to learn how to follow a fairly complex series of events. Grandma Lena has a backyard garden. In winter, she pores over seed catalogs, looking for turnips. In spring, children follow along as she plants and tends the seeds. Then, one day in June, the turnips come up, with one towering over the rest. So big is the turnip that Grandma Lena must enlist the members of her family, ending with the dog and the toddler, to yank it out, and when they do, it fills most of a double-page spread. Then come the turnip dishes, cooked soul-food style. Big, boisterously colored illustrations fit this book's big turnip and big heart. A note talks about African American cookery and the tale's Russian origins - Booklist

"...This comfortable, cumulative story with an African-American flavor, is smoothly rendered and jauntily illustrated with expressive color paintings...."
 ----Deborah Abbott,The Chicago Sun Times

Item Special Note

Jackie Urbanovic • Author/Illustrator/Cowgirl

I began drawing characters and telling stories before I could read. In my family, the art of telling a good story---especially a humorous one-- was highly prized. This shows up in my work over and over. Whether I am doing a single illustration or an entire book, I am always telling a story. This has promoted my interest in sequencial art: character development, animation, picturebooks, and comic strips.

Although I work in a range of styles, my illustration is primarily characterized by a sense of humor and whimsy. My primary medium is watercolor with pencil or brush/ink but I also work with papercuts, acrylics, scratchboard, photoshop and painter. After a lifetime of studying and practicing art, I am still fascinated by what is possible and I'm always experimenting.

I've illustrated posters, packaging, picturebooks, magazines, flip books, flash animations, t-shirts, comic strips, brochures, and even a bus!

My publishing credits include: Harper Collins Childrens, Hyperion, Albert Whitman, Cavendish Children's Books, Scholastic Inc., Boyds Mills Press, Novartis Nutrition, Kopp Funds, Stein Roe Farnham, Pokemon USA, Klutz, Consumer Reports and Publisher's Weekly.

And lastly, I enjoy talking and teaching about art almost as much as I enjoy doing it. I do school presentations and I'd be happy to send you information or give you a call! Just email me a note.

 Click here to see her collection of favorite illustrations...!

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