Kirkus Reviews QR Code
PETER PETER PICKS A PUMPKIN HOUSE by Christine Graham

PETER PETER PICKS A PUMPKIN HOUSE

By Christine Graham (Author) , Susan Boase (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8050-8706-2
Publisher: Henry Holt

Inspired by “Jack and the Beanstalk” as well as the familiar nursery rhyme, this chapter book tells a middling origin story about Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater’s infamous abode. The farmer and his wife adore every variety of their seasonal crop. When the rain pours into their humble hut, Peter Peter trades their favorite goat for a mysterious bag of treasure. Instead of jewels, the package holds a multitude of pumpkin seeds, and in a tantrum, he stomps them into the field. When the crop yields enormous produce, the couple prepares their sturdy new dwelling. Spare text favors repetition, and short chapters and ample drawings suit newly independent readers. The straightforward sequence of events quickly unfolds, while the couple’s actions maintain traditional gender roles. Earnest dialogue does little to enhance the slight narrative, and occasional rhymes provide lackluster results, as when the farmer sings, “Grow, oh, grow, / oh, pumpkin so / big and round / on the ground.” Boase’s nimble lines add necessary details, outlining facial features and family dynamics, strengthening the story. Though an interesting premise, the final product bears little fruit. (Fantasy. 5-8)