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ME AND THE PUMPKIN QUEEN by Marlane Kennedy

ME AND THE PUMPKIN QUEEN

By Marlane Kennedy

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: July 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-06-114022-8
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins

“I don’t think I’m abnormally obsessive. I mean, Daddy hasn’t taken me to the doctor or anything to find out for sure, so I prefer to describe myself as focused.” With that promising opening, Mildred introduces both herself and her raison d’être: her goal of winning the blue ribbon for biggest pumpkin at the Circleville Pumpkin Show. Certainly any reasonably objective observer would describe Mildred’s interest as obsessive, as she spends all of her money, time and energy on her pumpkins, determined to beat the obnoxiously patronizing Grover Fernhart at the weigh-in. Newcomer Kennedy presents readers with a winsomely single-minded heroine and her lovingly supportive supporting cast, the friends and family who (mostly) give her the space to pursue her dream. Weaving unexpectedly fascinating pumpkin-horticulture facts into the tale, the narrative presents Mildred with one real opponent: her childless Aunt Arlene, who wanted to adopt Mildred when her mother died and who persists in trying to turn her into a normal little girl. The psychologizing of Mildred’s grief is unsubtly telegraphed, but withal it’s a warmhearted and genuine offering that demands little and gives much. (Fiction. 8-12)