'The Giant Cabbage' tells story of friendship
By JEN RANSOM-Frontiersman reporter
Sep. 8, 2003

In 1999, Cherie Stihler was reading "The Turnip," an old Russian tale about a family
who works together to grow a giant turnip, and questioned why someone hadn't
written a similar story about Alaska. Suddenly, the answer came to her.
"Because I hadn't written it yet!" said Stihler, a kindergarten teacher in Fairbanks.
Two years later, Stihler and illustrator Jeremiah Trammell, from Eagle River,
released "The Giant Cabbage," a children's book adapted from the Russian story
that had inspired Stihler in the first place.

In celebration of a second printing, Stihler was at the Alaska State Fair
Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off this year, signing books and handing out
fake cabbage tattoos. Stihler described the book, in which oil paintings tell
a story of Moose, whose giant cabbage is a shoo-in for first place at
the Alaska State Fair contest, only Moose can't move the cabbage on his own.
The story, which is aimed at 3- to 8-year-olds but captures the hearts
of many adults, goes on to show how Moose's friends help him
move the cabbage to the fairgrounds, and Moose wins first place
in the Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off.

"Oh, I see somebody has finally marketed on our cabbage contest,"
said a woman passing by the booth. "What a great idea," said another.

Stihler said that the book has been a hit in her classroom, and beyond.
A 2-year-old Stihler knows has already worn down the first copy of the
book from constantly dragging it around the house.
"I just had to replace that copy for her," said Stihler.
"I know a number of 9-year-olds that love it too."
In "The Turnip," a Russian family must work together to grow a
large turnip so that the entire family has enough food to eat.
The moral? Families that work together eat together, said Stihler.
In "The Giant Cabbage," friends are needed in order to get the task at hand done.
"The moral?" asked Stihler. "Friends that work together can do anything."
"The Giant Cabbage" is available at Fireside Books in Palmer.

For more information on the book or the author,
go to http://www.cheriestihler.com