FICTION

Stumpkin

illus. by Lucy Ruth Cummins. 56p. S. & S./Atheneum. Jul. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534413627.
COPY ISBN
OrangeReviewStarPreS-Gr 3—What does every self-respecting pumpkin aspire to be? A jack o' lantern, of course. Stumpkin is big and round and "orange as a traffic cone"; he's full of promise, except for one minor flaw—he has no stem. Still, as Halloween approaches, he sits expectantly on his shelf outside a bodega waiting for someone to take him home, carve him up, and place him in their window. One by one, the windows in the building across the street fill up with smiling jack o' lanterns as the number of pumpkins on display in front of his shop dwindles. Finally, "Two were left on the shopkeeper's shelf. A boy came. And when the boy left…Stumpkin remained. The gourd?? Thought Stumpkin. I guess that's that." What will become of this poor, stemless pumpkin? After a tense few pages featuring a prominent trash can, a spread of pure black and some mysterious triangles, the shopkeeper comes up with the perfect solution. The illustrations, rendered in gouache, pencil, ink, and brush marker, feature a palette of black, white, orange, and a touch of green, while the people are all represented in black silhouette. Baby carriages, dogs on leashes, subway stations, streetlights, and fire hydrants capture a busy urban neighborhood.
VERDICT A perfect holiday read-aloud for city kids and country dwellers as well.

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