Pick a Pumpkin

Candlewick. Jul. 2019. 40p. illus. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781536207644.
PreS-Gr 1–This rhythmically rhyming holiday homage begins at the pumpkin patch with an unnamed family picking pumpkins, “tall and lean/or short and fat./Vivid orange,/ghostly white,/or speckled green/might be just right,” then heading home. Before carving can begin, pumpkins must be cleaned, tools gathered, friends invited, and innards removed—“Lumpy chunks. Sticky strings./Clumpy seeds. Guts and things.” Now the carving can begin with all its creative choices—“A kiss. A frown./A toothy grin./ A zigzag gap/cut long and thin./A smirk. A snarl./An eerie O./Or pointy fangs,/all in a row.” Next comes decorations, then costumes and finally with a light inside, “LOOK! /It’s not a pumpkin anymore—It’s a…JACK-O’-LANTERN!” Toht’s fun-to-read text is generally spot-on, and really captures the spirit of Halloween traditions in a family friendly way. Using pencil, chalk, paint and digital coloring, Jarvis’s illustrations have the look and fell of collage. This and their muted fall color palette truly capture the feeling of autumn and the slightly spookiness of Halloween. Excellent depictions of a variety of jack-o’-lanterns, action scenes, and the inclusion of various thematic critters, such as crows, black cat, mice, and spiders.
VERDICT While this books focuses on making a jack-o’-lantern from beginning to end, it also covers the Halloween traditions of scary decorations and trick-or-treating. Perfect for storytime and a good addition to your Halloween books.

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