Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pumpkin Town

(Or, Nothing is Better and Worse Than a Pumpkin)
By Katie Mcky
Illustrated by Pablo Bernasconi
Most enjoyed by Preschoolers through 3rd Graders

Pumpkin season is upon us. Their bright color is easy to spot while driving around town and through the surrounding countryside. Time to buy a few for decorating and carving. But before you carve your pumpkin this year, read 'Pumpkin Town' and be sure to save the seeds. You'll see why at the end of this post.

Jose and his brothers are pumpkin farmers. Each summer, they grow pumpkins of all sizes for making pies and jack-o-lanterns. Each fall, they bring the pumpkins to town to sell. But before they sell them, Jose's father tells the boys to take the seeds from some of the best pumpkins to sow in next year's garden. Jose and his brother carefully separate the brightest seeds and toss the smaller, dull seeds out the window. The wind snatches them up and sends them sailing over the town at the bottom of the hill. By spring, the town is covered in vines and come summer, there are enough pumpkins to break roofs and shatter fences.

As the brothers survey the town from their hill home, they realize the mistake they've made and sneak down during the night to make a mountain of pumpkins for the town to sell. With the money the townsfolk make, they build a statue in the brothers' honor, thanking them for righting a wrong. The brothers are sent home with five large watermelons and young readers will delight to see what happens to the watermelon seeds when the brothers are done.

Author Katie Mcky, a former school teacher, often watched her young students work extra hard to correct a mistake or right a wrong they had committed. She wanted to recognize their hard work and so wrote a story in their honor. But don't think 'Pumpkin Town' is a heavy-handed story with a moral. The story's message is subtle, wonderfully illustrated with collage art images. Readers will enjoy looking at the pictures just as much as they'll enjoy the idea of a town overrun with pumpkins.
Which brings us back to pumpkin seeds. What will you be doing with your seeds after you carve your pumpkin this year?

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