A couple of weeks ago, I shared three of our favorite witch stories. Today, let's focus on pumpkins:
1. Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie, Jill EsbaumJust what you'd expect from a book published by National Geographic, this one is chock-full of absolutely gorgeous photographs. Seriously, that's why I like it so much. Plus, do you realize how how infrequently picture books feature actual photos? It's nice for a change.
If you didn't already guess it, this is a non-fiction title. It explores the beginnings of a pumpkin from when it is planted as a seed all the way to being carved as a jack-o'-lantern. The very end even shows the leftover pumpkins being used to feed cattle and composting back into the soil.
Aaron and Max's favorite photo was the one of some people floating down a river inside a pumpkin. Yep, it's true. You better check it out to see for yourself. My favorite picture is on the very last page. There are patches of snow and frost covering the trees and several pumpkins lying on the ground. I love the contrast between bright orange and white/gray. And I love how it shows the progression of the seasons.
I think pumpkins are kind of like the bridge between Halloween and Thanksgiving, so this book would be the perfect lead-in to the next holiday. And if you like this one, I saw that National Geographic also published one called Pilgrims of Plymouth. You can be sure we'll be checking out that one.
2. Pumpkin Heads! Wendell MinorOn Halloween every pumpkin becomes a pumpkin head. Thus begins this enchanting book depicting, you guessed it, a multitude of jack-o'-lanterns...from scary ones that sit outside a spooky haunted house to cheerful ones that sit atop a hay wagon. There's even a picture of a pumpkin snowman.
With Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie, it was the photographs that pulled me in. This one, it's the illustrations. The text is simple and direct, which really makes it so the illustrations can just shine. They are vibrant and realistic and showcase pumpkins in a totally unique way. (And if you like this one, then I highly recommend that you check out Wendell Minor's America the Beautiful. Breathtaking.)
Aaron and Maxwell loved to explore and study all of the different pumpkin faces. In fact, if you walked past our house this very afternoon, you'd see that the carved pumpkin on our front step bears a striking resemblance to one of the pumpkins found in this book.
3. The Very Best Pumpkin, Mark Kimball Moulton, illus. Karen Hillard GoodUnlike the first two titles, this one is an actual story. It is about a little boy named Peter. His grandparents own a farm and cultivate a large pumpkin patch. One day, Peter follows a long vine to a small and lonely pumpkin growing far away from all the others. Peter decides to care for it himself. At the same time, a new girl named Meg moves in next door. She spends the summer watching Peter nourish the little pumpkin, and when it comes time to harvest the pumpkins, Peter gives his special pumpkin to Meg.
I loved this story of friendship and that it emphasized making new friends. I also loved that it didn't end with the giving away of the pumpkin but that it showed how Peter and Meg's friendship continued to grow through winter, spring, and summer. I think this is another one you could read to get in the Thanksgiving mood because it focuses on those relationships that are so important this time of year.
You'll notice that all three of these books focused heavily on harvest and the beauty of autumn rather than trick-or-treating or costumes. We've read dozens of Halloween-themed picture books this year, but I always find myself drawn to the ones that have a little more depth and aren't creepy or morbid. If that's you too, then I think you'll love these three pumpkin books. Have a safe and fun evening!