Runaway Radish
El rábano que escapó

Reading Level 2.9
32 pages
Bilingual English/​Spanish Full Text Translation
Publication Date: Fall 2008

Written by/​Escrito por Janice Levy
Illustrated by/​Ilustrado por Sydney Wright

It’s the Night of the Radishes and Don Pedro wants to carve the best radish sculpture in town. But one radish won’t cooperate. It bounces away, looking for action! So begins a raucous romp as everyone in town gets involved in the chasing of the radish. The radish’s antics include bumping into burros, tripping up the local mariachis and trampling tortillas. Busy cooks who are trying to get ready for the festival fall into their pots as the radish races by and the whole marketplace is turned upside down.

Written in a style reminiscent to The Gingerbread Man, one antic builds on another until finally the rascally radish is subdued.

The Night of the Radishes is an annual festival held on the evening of December 23rd in Oaxaca, Mexico. A huge contest featuring figures sculpted from radishes is one of the highlights of this festival. The sculptures often represent scenes of the birth of Jesus or other scenes expressing the history and culture of Oaxacans. Everyone competes for first prize, a part of which is having their picture posted in the morning paper.

Humorous sketches capture the excitement and keep the story straight as one chaotic episode after another takes place. Movement, color, and clever expressions fill the pages with wit and illumination.
This book is full text translation. The story is presented fully in English and then again in Spanish with an icon separating the two for ease of reading. A bilingual vocabulary page in English and Spanish is included to help readers learn keywords in either language.

This book is available in English, Spanish and as a Bilingual book with both English and Spanish text.

Raven Tree Press, 2008
published in a bilingual format


"This variant of the Gingerbread Man introduces readers to a runaway radish with a Hispanic twist. Don Pedro is carving radishes for the contest "The Night of the Radishes" and has created an elaborate castle with knights and horses. But when he reaches for the last plump and lumpy radish, it runs away from him singing, "Places to go, people to see. Out of my way, you can't carve ME!" The radish encounters burros, mariachis, cooks...Don Pedro finally captures the radish near the mercado and carves it into a queen that he places on the throne of the radish castle. No one actually gets to eat this runaway radish, as it dries up and has to be thrown away. Illustrations range from soft pastels to bright Mexican style colors. Children will enjoy following the adventures of the runaway radish.
******Recommended for all public and elementary school libraires."

"Read it again! That's what you'll hear when you share this book with your kids or use it in the classroom. I've done both!
It comes in English only,Spanish ony, and bilingual versions.
We made a big map and charted the runaway radish on her adventures. The students made their own endings and illustrations. We also did some research about Mexico and folktales. It's great for teaching plot, sequencing and story structure for the older child, as well.
It's just plain fun!
My Spanish is pretty rusty, so the bilingual version worked well.

I used this book in my classroom and the kids liked it so much, I'm asking the principal to order a class set. The students really got into it.
The words are simple and the illustrations are vibrant. The book just speeds along, with the antics of the radish getting wackier by the page. I suggest that each time you read it, you leave out more parts of the story - like the song "and Bingo was his name-o" until the kids recite the entrie book from memory.
I also made a "word wall" of new vocabulary, like "mariachi"...I learned some Spanish, too!
It's not easy holding kids' attention, but this one made learning fun."
-- amazon.com reviewer

"Children will enjoy participating in telling this story. Places to go, people to see. Out of my way, you can't carve ME! and Stop,radish,stop! Both phrases will be changed as the story is read. Each page is filled with humorous illustrations and the bilingual text will help children learn the story in both languages. Children will enjoy the delightful antics on each page as the radish, determined to escape the carving knife, runs through the town."
--Jan Haines, Library Consultant, State Library of Ohio

Fun and educational book
"Runaway Radish" is a story similar to "The Gingerbread Man". The story is about the Radish Festival held yearly in Oaxaca, Mexico. Just as the carver was about to finish carving his radish sculpture, the last radish ran away. It is a delightful children's story. The bright, colorful illustrations are very animated and thus appealing to children.

Now no review regarding any children's book would be complete without a glimpse of what its target audience, a child, thinks. As a result, I had all three of my children read and review "Runaway Radish". All of them liked "Runaway Radish", especially my six year old son. My oldest, nine, liked the Spanish on each page. She liked trying to figure out what each word was. After a mini-Spanish lesson from mom, she was much more successful. The vocabulary list in the back is also very helpful for children.

I loved the story. The history regarding the origin of the story helps the reader understand the setting for the story. I know that what is included on the dust-jacket of a hardcover is not always also included on a soft-cover. I hope they keep this information, though, as it is very useful. Without this background, the reader might wonder why the main character was displaying radishes as he was. It would still be a good story, but is even better with this touch of reality "thrown" in.

I also loved the English/​Spanish on each page. As a homeschooling mom who loves literature-based and "real-life" learning, I see this as a great tool.
Anyone can memorize a set of letters, words, or conjugation rules. But nothing helps one truly grasp a language like seeing it used in a "real" story. It brings the language to life like no textbook ever could. I imagine it would do the same for ESL students.

"Runaway Radish" is a cheerful, fun story that is also educational. I would recommend this book to homeschooling parents desiring to teach their children Spanish as well as to the "traditional" Spanish or ESL student.

Follow Don Pedro and the radish on a wild journey through town where they trample tortillas, smash into a mariachi band, and bump into a burro. RUNAWAY RADISH by Janice Levy is a fun, entertaining story for children 9 and up. With a "The Gingerbread Man" slant, Levy's book is sure to become a family favorite. Sydney Wright's illustrations are humorous as they capture the youthful antics of two fun characters.
--Jennifer B Leese, Pickett News

This has the potential of being a December holiday favorite, particularly for multi-cultural celebrations. The story has enough layers that it can be shared and enjoyed for years.
--The Reading Tub

A fun story that will elicit laughter and the desire to read “just one more time!” A winner!
-- Authors Choice Reviews http:/​/​idealinhope.com/​bookreviews/​elementary.html.

RUNAWAY RADISH uses the format from the “Little Gingerbread Man” to create a rollicking fun story about a radish who doesn't want to be part of a sculpture and runs away with the repeated phrase “Places to go, people to see. Out of my way, you can't carve me!” Along the way the radish causes all sorts of havoc until the sculptor captures him. A fun story told in both Spanish and English that will elicit laughter and the desire to read “just one more time!” A winner in either language.
--Reviewer Carolyn R Scheidies

"There is a Hispanic version out called Runaway Radish/​El Rábano que Escapó by Janice Levy. With full text in both English and Spanish, this version centers around the Night of the Radishes, an annual festival held in Oaxaca a few night before Christmas. In it there is a huge contest that features figures carved from radishes. Most of the sculptures represent scenes from the nativity or of the history and culture of Oaxacans. A pretty neat concept, I have to say! So naturally, Runaway Radish is about (surprise!) a radish that escapes his master sculptor and creates havoc throughout the town as he tries to get away, shouting,

"Gentes y lugares voy a visitar.
Aléjate de mí, ¡no me vas a tallar!"
And because we have not had a giveaway this month yet, AND as our way at the LBBC of saying "¡Feliz Navidad!" we are offering not one, but two lucky winners a copy of this book. All you have to do is leave a comment by this coming Sunday night, and I will announce the winners on Monday.

Children will enjoy participating in telling this story. “Places to go, people to see. Out of my way, you can’t carve ME!” and “Stop, radish, Stop!” Both phrases will be chanted as the story is read. Children will enjoy the delightful antics on each page as the radish, determined to escape the carving knife, runs through the town. This is an awesome take on The Gingerbread Man. My oldest son Dexter read it aloud to two of his younger siblings.

This is the classic tale of the Gingerbread Man with a few changes to the minor details. Of course, the major change is the main character, the radish. In Mexico, there is a radish carving contest called "The Night of the Radishes." In this story, the sculptor gets to the last radish and she runs away, not wanting to be carved. The radish runs away from many characters before she decided that running away is not for her and allows the sculptor to carve her. He makes her into a queen with running shoes! In the end she dries up and gets thrown away. This book is bilingual in English and Spanish and has a page of vocabulary in the back. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
--Susan Williams, Tuscon School District,Arizona

"Many parents are taking the time to invest in teaching a second or third language to their chidlren. Bilingual books in Spanish/​English are becoming more and more popular with homeschoolers and parents. Raven Tree Press specializes in bilingual books. The Night of the Radish is an annual festival held on the evening of December 23rd in Oaxaca, Mexico. A huge contest featuring figures sculpted from radishes is one of hte highlights of of the festival. The sculptures often represent scenes from the birth of Jesus or other scenes involving Oaxacan history. Everyone competes for first prize, part of which is having their picture posted in the morning paper. In this fantastical tale by Janice Levy, don Pedro wants to carve a winning radish but the radish won't cooperate and keeps running away! It is a new slant on the childhood tale, The Gingerbread Man..bilingual pictures books from Raven Tree Press..GOOD NEWS FOR HOMESCHOOLERS!"
--The Mama Review, http/​/​www.themamareview.com/​search?q=janice+levy

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