Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Jacqueline Farmer
Illustrator:  Phyllis Limbacher Tildes 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Charlesbridge, 2004   ISBN: 978-1570915581

For many of us the words ‘fall’ or ‘autumn’ makes us think of colorful leaves, cooler weather, Halloween celebrations, and pumpkins. At this time of year, pumpkins are golden and ripe, ready to be taken out of the garden or field to be turned into jack-o-lanterns and other decorations. Many people also like to eat pumpkins, turning the orange ‘meat’ into pies, soups, cookies, cakes and other delicious goodies.

Pumpkins are fruits and they have seeds inside them that can be toasted and eaten. You can also save the seeds for planting. There are many kinds of pumpkins, and they are eaten by people all over the world. In some cultures, pumpkins have been an important part of people’s diets for many thousands of years. Native Americans grew pumpkins both for food and for medicines, and when Europeans turned up, Native Americans taught them how to grow and cook pumpkins.

Pumpkins are quite easy to grow, and a lot of people enjoy planting pumpkin seeds in their gardens. Some pumpkin fans grow mammoth giant pumpkins that they enter in contests. It is very satisfying to watch a pumpkin vine grow, and to see a pumpkin getting bigger and changing color over time. For children, picking a pumpkin that they have grown and then carving it for Halloween can be a special fall tradition.

In this excellent nonfiction picture book, children will learn all about how pumpkins are grown, why we carve them for Halloween, how to make a pumpkin pie, and how important pumpkins have been to humans over the centuries. The text is engaging and full of interesting pumpkin facts that children will enjoy sharing with their friends and their grownups.