Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ready for Pumpkins

Ready for Pumpkins

Kate Duke
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 7
Random House Children's Books, 2012   ISBN: 978-0375870682

Hercules “Herky” the guinea pig lives in a cage in Miss MacGuffey’s first-grade classroom, and on the whole he considers himself to be a very lucky fellow. He is cared for very well, he is loved by the children in the class, and every so often he gets to have grand adventures. For example, there was that time when he ‘helped’ the children carve their Halloween pumpkin. Herky even came away from that experience with some pumpkin seeds to save “for later.”

When spring arrives the children in the class grow bean plants and Herky decides that he would like to grow things too. He wants to be more than “just a classroom guinea pig.”

When summer comes around Herky gets his chance. Miss MacGuffey takes the guinea pig to her father’s house in the country and there he gathers up the pumpkin seeds he saved, escapes from his cage, and thankfully meets a rabbit called Daisy who knows all about growing things.

Daisy shows Herky how to prepare the ground and then how to plant his seeds. What Herky is not prepared for is that pumpkin seeds don’t come up overnight. You have to be patient if you are going to be a gardener.

In this sweet and often funny picture book we meet a guinea pig who has dreams and aspirations, and who then has a wonderful experience that changes his whole perspective. Children will be delighted to see how Herky’s gardening efforts fare, and they will appreciate that sometimes the simple adventures are the best ones.