BooksForKidsBlog

Monday, October 04, 2021

Planting Planning! How To Help A Pumpkin Grow by Ashley Wolff

DIG IT! SPADE IT! SEEDS TO SOW!

Gardeners have to plan for the future. It's early spring, with just the first tree blooming, but Farmer Dog is already getting ready to grow pumpkins for the fall.

He has his seeds in a pail and an intriguing assortment of umbrellas in a box and stakes out where his patch will be fenced and tilled. He spades away in his plot, but he is not alone. Curious animals appear, a goat who's been tasting the blossoms on the tree, a gray mouse who watches from a hole in a tree, a duck dunking for tidbits in the pond, a rabbit nibbling weeds, and a crow with a clear interest in seeds--all are drawn closer as the building and tilling continues.

When Farmer Dog raises an umbrella over each planting place to shelter the seeds from the late spring snow, the curious critters come closer. With a knowing eye especially on Crow, the farmer asks...

WANT TO HELP A PUMPKIN GROW?

And all the animals DO! He shows them how to take care of the growing plants, and they are eager to help. Crow steps up to hold the hose as Farmer Dog waters the little plants. Rabbit eats the weeds and Duck pulls them up, while Mouse watches from the fence. Goat helps wind the vines around the fence and stakes so the leaves can get plenty of sunshine and soon the little white pumpkins become big orange pumpkins, still growing in the long days of summer sun.

TWINE THEM, VINE THEM.

WATCH THEM GO!

FILLING UP THE GARDEN--WHOA!

All the animals pitch in to pick and load the pumpkins on a cart, and now it's Goat's turn to show off, as he steps into the traces to pull the load of pumpkins to the kitchen.

PICK THEM! STACK THEM!

OVERFLOW.

And in the kitchen there are soon piles of pumpkin seeds, some to toast and eat and some to save for next year, and there are plenty of golden pumpkin pies all in a row, even a small one for little Mouse. They're all happy they helped to make them grow.

And that's not ALL! There are still enough pumpkins to . . .

CARVE JUST SO

PLACE THEM SO THE CANDLES SHOW.

And what's left now for their pumpkins to do but...

GLOW!

A bright and shining new pumpkin book for the scary season, veteran author-illustrator Ashley Wolff's latest How to Help a Pumpkin Grow (Beach Lane Books, 2021) does it all, with warm rhymes, and fall scenes of a variety of animals adding to the fun of growing and processing pumpkins to share with all.

This new book by the celebrated illustrator of Joseph Slate's classic Miss Bindergarten books for early graders is a real winner, sure to take its turn in the read-aloud rotation of autumn stories, introducing various animals while also working in the themes of pumpkin gardening, cooperation according to abilities, seasonal stories, cooking, and Halloween and Thanksgiving symbols.

While including all these items in the early education curriculum, Wolff also works in a charming visual joke in which she "hides" the little mouse throughout the story: Mouse, visible partially on almost every page, offers some counting fun for sharp-eyed young "readers." All this comes with the warmth of color-saturated acrylic gouache illustrations that glow with the outdoor pleasures of the growing seasons, especially autumn.

Says Kirkus Reviews, "A rhythmic seasonal read-aloud with rich, detailed illustrations." A first purchase for school and public libraries for sure!

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3 Comments:

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