From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2?A variation on the familiar Russian folktale. Here, two rabbits are surprised to find an enormous carrot growing in their garden. At harvest time, they solicit help from a variety of friendly barnyard neighbors. Storytime participants will eagerly chime in with the repeated, "But the carrot stayed put. It wouldn't come out." It is finally Lester the Mouse who lends the last measure of muscle power needed to burst the carrot from the begrudging soil. The most festive scene in the story is a double-page spread depicting the carrot feast in which the animals eat "every bit of that enormous carrot until it was all gone." A fascinating menagerie crowds around a circular table groaning with every type of carrot delicacy imaginable. Vagin's contribution is fresh and energetic, told with vocabulary that is as lush and varied as the hues of his framed illustrations. The animals not only pull and tug, they heave and ho, grunt and groan, team and tow, stretch and sway, and holler and haul. With the creatures dressed as rural folk, the pictures have the feel of a Victorian Easter card, but with brilliant garden colors. Enchanting details will captivate readers who may be beyond the simplicity of the tale. The presentation is enhanced by the same large format as Vagin's The Nutcracker Ballet (Scholastic, 1995). A salad bar of springtime delights.?Lisa S. Murphy, formerly at Dauphin County Library System, Harrisburg, PA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 5^-7. Vagin retells "The Enormous Turnip," pitting a cast of farm animals against a more familiar vegetable. When rabbits Daisy and Floyd find the gargantuan root in their garden, they try to pull it up but can't--not even with the help of Mabel the cow, Henry the goat, and Claire cat and her tractor. At last, little Lester mouse joins the string, and that does the trick. The artist clothes his menagerie in comfortable, colorful, modern dress and puts it in a sunny, rural landscape lush with flowers. Made into cake, soup, tarts, pie, cookies, and ice cream, the great carrot feeds a crowd at an outdoor party, after which Daisy and Floyd lie down for a nap, not noticing the tree-size tomato plant behind them. It's a classic tale about the value of cooperation, in a fresh, cheerful garb. John Peters