City Beet

When a notice for a community potluck is posted, Victoria and her neighbor Mrs. Kosta decide to bring a beet salad as their contribution. But first they need to grow this special vegetable for their dish. They plant the seeds in their garden plot, and throughout the summer they water, fertilize, weed, and mulch. And they watch their beet grow and grow and grow. On potluck day, it's time to harvest so they can make their salad. Victoria grabs the garlic and the grater and Mrs. Kosta steps up to remove the beautiful red veg from its underground home. But their care and attention has grown the biggest beet ever, and it stubbornly refuses to come loose. This beet won't budge! Will Victoria and Mrs. Kosta be able to make their special salad? Not to worry--help comes in all shapes and sizes. This clever, humorous take on an old folktale is a celebration of community and the ways we all come together. Back matter includes a beet salad recipe.

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Interest Level Kindergarten - Grade 3
Reading Level Grade 1
Dewey E
Lexile 630L
ATOS Reading Level
Guided Reading Level L
Language English
Publisher Sleeping Bear Press
Available Formats Hardcover (9781534112711), PDF (9781668918050), Hosted ebook (9781668918470)
Copyright 2023
Number of Pages 40
Dimensions 9 x 11
Graphics Full-color illustrations

Kirkus Reviews - City Beet

“Cohen’s modern, urban take on the Russian folktale “The Enormous Turnip” unites a diverse neighborhood for a comically common cause. The jaunty refrain is fun to recite after each failed attempt. Lugo’s colorfully detailed illustrations add to the humorous enterprise. Community gardeners everywhere will want to “rise” to the challenge.”

City Beet - Activity Pages

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Author: Tziporah Cohen

Tziporah Cohen grew up gardening with her dad but never grew beets, probably because her dad doesn’t like them. She has an MD from Harvard Medical School and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut novel, No Vacancy, was named a Sydney Taylor Honor Book and was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. She based City Beet on a Russian folktale called “The Gigantic Turnip” but decided to set it in a big city rather than on a farm. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her family. Learn more about her at

Illustrator: Udayana Lugo

Udayana Lugo is a self-taught illustrator of mixed heritage. Having worked as a designer of many varied things, from jewelry to auto parts, and from furniture to whole interiors, she still does that—but in children’s books, which are her true passion. Udayana and her husband have lived in Mexico, Italy, and England, but they, along with their two kids, call British Columbia their home. When not working on a book, you can find her walking her dog or baking something with her children. Learn more about Udayana at

Original artwork
Full-color illustrations