The Mighty Asparagus (New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books (Awards))

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9780152167431: The Mighty Asparagus (New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books (Awards))

Long ago in Italy, a mighty asparagus grew smack-dab in front of the king's castle. Was the king happy about it? No. The asparagus had to go. But how does a king reason with an asparagus of such stature?

With tongue planted firmly in cheek, Vladimir Radunsky tells the uproarious tale of an almost immovable vegetable. Drawing on Italian Renaissance art, the esteemed artist creates a breathtaking magical kingdom, where it's easy to imagine that such an asparagus existed. His artwork is as gorgeous as it is funny. Although the old masters may turn over in their graves, readers of all ages will clamor for more of The Mighty Asparagus.

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About the Author:

VLADIMIR RADUNSKY has illustrated many books for children, including Bling Blang, Howdi Do, and My Dolly, all by Woody Guthrie, and his own Manneken Pis: A Simple Story of a Boy Who Peed on a War. He lives in Italy.

From Booklist:

Gr. 4-7. Interpretations of the Russian folktale "The Enormous Turnip" (see Tatiana Zunshine's book, p.1622), are legion, but Radunsky's may elicit some furrowed brows. A giant asparagus appears in the courtyard of a king, who despises it; eventually, a small bird succeeds in toppling it after all others fail. The book concludes with a foldout revealing the veggie behemoth surrounded by characters and their elegiac musings ("Such a huge asparagus it was, and now it's fallen and beaten down"). Readers older than the story's usual picture-book-age audience will probably most appreciate Radunsky's gonzo storytelling style, but the text is really just a vehicle for eye-popping visuals, a pastiche of Italian Renaissance people and other elements nicked from actual paintings. An author's note acknowledges artists such as Lorenzetti, Piero della Francesca, and Mantegna, but, unfortunately, no master list is given for the numerous individual paintings that are referenced. Creative educators might make this flaw into a virtue, though, by encouraging students to use library resources to trace Radunsky's inspirations. Younger groups studying folktales should stick with retellings like Jan Peck's The Giant Carrot (1998); pull this out for sophisticated older kids (and college-age art students), who will get the most out of the armchair museum tour. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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