FICTION

The Great Pumpkin Contest

Katherine Tegen Bks Harper Collins/. Jul. 2019. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062741370.
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PreS-Gr 1–Sometimes, competition is the perfect seed for growing a new friendship. Mimi and Clara are two cats who could not be more different: while Mimi prefers to sit inside and read quietly by herself, Clara enjoys spending time outside with her friends. When fall comes and the Great Pumpkin Contest begins, however, their goal is one in the same: to win. With two different approaches, it takes one very special decision to bring them together. Illustrations using water-soluble crayons, gouache, and collage craft the background for this story, emphasizing the greens, browns, and oranges of fall. Coupled with short sentences and limited text on each page, the design of the book is accessible to young readers. The endpapers reflect the passage of time, beginning with seedlings and ending with fully-grown pumpkins; they are a direct representation of the growth of the pumpkins and an indirect representation of Mimi and Clara’s growing relationship. Though the characters in the story are cats, the tale of emerging friendship is one to which most can relate. Readers will enjoy the surprise ending and the ways through which Clara and Mimi connect. Savvy adults will also notice and appreciate the puns in the titles of the books Mimi reads.
VERDICT This is an enjoyable and lighthearted story of friendship and collaboration for young children

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