Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Pumpkin Town! (Or, Nothing is better and worse than pumpkins)

Pumpkin Town! (Or, Nothing is better and worse than pumpkins)

Katie McKy
Illustrator:  Pablo Bernasconi 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 7
Houghton Mifflin, 2006   ISBN: 978-0547181936

Jose, his five brothers, and his father are pumpkin farmers. Every spring they plant pumpkin seeds, and every fall they harvest their golden colored crop. They always save a few of the pumpkins so that they can use the seeds from the fruit to plant next year's crop. They cut open the saved pumpkins, scoop out the seeds, and then they sort the seeds. They only want the "biggest, brightest" seeds. Every year they take the "duller, smaller" seeds and through them away from their field.

One October day, when the brothers throw away the rejected seeds, a gust of wind picks them up and dumps them on the nearby town. The following spring the townsfolk discover that they have pumpkin vines growing in the straw roofs of their homes, in their flowerpots, and in their gardens. At first they like the vines, but soon enough the pumpkins take over the town. The pumpkins become a nuisance and the townsfolk don't know what to do about them.

There are times when it is possible to have too much of a good thing. In this case the overabundance of pumpkins becomes a real problem. With humor and sensitivity the author tells a grand story and she also shows her readers that it is important to take responsibility for your mistakes, and to try to correct them if you can. There is no shame in making an honest mistake; after all we all make them. It would, however, be a shame if we did not try to make amends when we do something that negatively impacts others.

Pablo Bernasconi has created some truly delightful and quirky illustrations for Katie McKy's unique story. His amusing illustrations are created using collage and other media, and artistic children will enjoy examining the pictures to see how Bernasconi put them together.