Book #266: The Giant Carrot

The Giant Carrot -- coverOriginally a Russian folktale called “The Turnip,” Jan Peck decided to rewrite the story in a southern vernacular and switch out the turnip for the “tasty, versatile carrot.”  What you get is a wonderful retelling of an old tale and a recipe for carrot pudding at the back of the book besides.

As the days grew longer, Papa Joe shoveled compost around the carrot top. Mama Bess puled weeds, and Brother Abel sprinkled water. The carrot top grew a little bit. But when sweet Little Isabelle sang and danced around the carrot top, it grew and grew and grew until it was as tall as Brother Abel.

Brother Abel dusted off his overalls. “Well, for cryin’ in a bucket. That carrot sure takes a shine to Little Isabelle’s singin’ and dancin’.”

Little Isabelle seems to have a way with getting the carrot to grow. And when it’s time to pull the huge thing out of the earth, it’s her singing that ultimately dislodges it, too. From one big carrot they manage to get “tall glasses of carrot juice, wide bowls of carrot stew, jars of strong carrot relish, and little cups of carrot puddin'”.

Small children love chain formulas, and this is a particularly well-rendered one. If you like books with the Southern drawl, check out Possum Come A-Knockin’, which some critics think is unfavorable towards those from the south, but I just love. I like this one a lot, too.  ABZ

Barry Root..."The Giant Carot" Watercolor and Gouache on paper.

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