A little boy joyfully anticipates the birth of a new baby brother in this picture-book import from Italy.
The title comes from the fact that child narrator’s pregnant mother has cravings for all things pumpkin, leading him to dream that the baby has “a pumpkin head—with nothing inside but seeds and pulp.” This leads him on a mission to fill his as-yet–in-utero brother’s head with stories, words, and sounds to make sure the baby will be born with a head full of knowledge. It ends up feeling a bit like something got lost in the translation of the story, but the cartoon images lend humor to the family’s characterization, and it’s refreshing to see a new-baby story that doesn’t get bogged down with older-sibling angst and jealousy. On the other hand, the all-white cast of characters presents a homogenous depiction of the world in which this family lives. At the book’s end, when the baby is born, the big brother and his mother and father joyfully welcome him, and the final page turn brings the story forward to a playful conclusion when the nickname “Pumpkin Head” reappears.
Ultimately, however, there’s little to distinguish this new-baby story from the others crowding the cabbage…err, pumpkin patch. (Picture book. 3-6)