Never pull a green gourd afore it's ripe, or it'll witch ye sure."" The old woman knows this bit of lore, but since she's lost her only dipper in the rushing stream where she gets water, she risks picking one. Set out to dry, the feisty gourd starts running amok: it ""fumps"" the woman on the head and discombobulates a panther and a fox before a small (but ""spry"") boy manages to squash it flat. Hunter's perky down-home version of a tale credited to a 19th-century collector (a Native American parallel is also cited) makes a grand readaloud. Griego debuts with satisfyingly funny illustrations, the gourd surrounded with cartoony stars, skull, etc., denoting its wicked ways and the stylized settings and figures bursting with energy. A real, well-paced story; good fun.