This new title by Jan Brett features a delightful family of badgers that are unable to dig out a giant turnip.
Part of Russian folklore, this tale brings to life a family of badgers, a sturdy horse, among other neighbors, and a rooster that seems capable of doing the trick all by himself. Inspired by a research trip to the ancient Russian capital of Novogorod, Brett fashioned the badger and bear dens after traditional timber houses called Izbas.
An instant classic, her detailed illustrations bring colorful folk art patterns in her book borders and Russian folk style clothes on the animals. Brett is known for sparking kids’ imaginations through nature, and for her detailed illustrations (which take one hour per square inch to create). Her trademark borders are beautiful, always showing what has happened in her story and giving hidden clues about what’s to come. All of them are watercolors.
She is also a veritable “rock-star” type of author, since she travels each fall to present her new book on a style bus wrapped in her artwork. This year Brett will travel to 23 cities from New Hampshire to California, visiting many small bookstores along the way. (Here is the tour stops link).
The fact that she travels with her husband, her chickens (she breeds ornamental fowl), and her easel, to better personalize her signings; and that she schedules them in the early afternoon, when kids are out of school and can come over, shows a lot about her character. At 66, she is driven, passionate and has sold over 30 million copies of her books worldwide.
Visiting her blog you can see all the travels she?s taken around the world, from Namibia, to Ireland, to Mexico, to display the true details of her tales into each picture. She calls them her “treasure hunt” voyages. And that?s what they are: worldwide treasure hunts were ethnic clothing, particular animals, special landscapes, bark textures and million other little things can spark her imagination and lead her to her next book.
As a bonus, her website features thousands of free educational activities for teachers to download and use with their students.
The Turnip will be released November the 3rd.
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book for review purposes.
Featured image by Jan Brett, Photo courtesy Penguin Random House Penguin Young Readers