This tale’s concept is a bit shaky, but readers may enjoy seeing a seed’s dream come true.



A seed can’t wait to become a Halloween pumpkin in this debut children’s picture book.

Pumpker is a pumpkin seed with two sisters, Plumpalicious and Plumpilina. He feels like the odd seed out because he’s the only boy; also, his name means “weirdo” in their secret language. After he’s planted by “Old Mr. Smith’s wife” (why not “Mrs. Smith” initially?), he longs to escape the darkness, grow up, and be loved. As Halloween approaches, his excitement builds, and when he and his pumpkin sisters are finally picked by a little girl, he sheds tears of joy. After they’re carved into frightening shapes (“I guess I’m not the only weirdo in the family now,” he comments slyly), Pumpker glows with happiness (and candlelight). Murphy, who wrote this story in the fifth grade, requires that readers suspend a lot of disbelief for her anthropomorphic narrator: Why, for example, would a seed formed inside a pumpkin feel trapped underground? And how does he live after being cut from the vine? That said, Murphy describes Pumpker’s emotions clearly, makes him sympathetic, and conveys his sense of fulfillment. Pérez’s (Escuelita Sinfonía, 2018) well-done illustrations have a lively angularity that works well with a pumpkin’s carved features.

This tale’s concept is a bit shaky, but readers may enjoy seeing a seed’s dream come true.

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9985162-2-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Pink Umbrella Books LLC

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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