Rosen’s latest serves primarily as a vehicle for expert pumpkin-artist McMahon’s amazing carvings.
Digitally assembled with photographs of McMahon’s work and pencil drawings, the illustrations treat readers to spirited images of spunky pumpkins rising up to take an active part in trick-or-treating instead of remaining parked on porches. At the pumpkin patch, “ideas of creepy, chilling costumes filled the air above…” Their “costumes” are masterfully executed carvings meant to scare children on Halloween. A saber-toothed tiger and a cobra are most fearsome. But other pumpkins choose to resemble prehistoric beasts, while some settle for common choices of spiders and skeletons. Young readers will be inspired by the rarely encountered white pumpkins balanced to create a teetering zombie or the green ones put together into Frankenstein’s monster and the “Lock” [sic] Ness Monster. A mob of radishes, turnips, leeks and rutabagas begs to be part of the fun, but the pumpkinheads answer, “No way!” They want the thrill of terrifying the kids all to themselves. Predictably, the trick-or-treaters only giggle at them. What causes fearful mayhem is the arrival of—you guessed it—the dreaded vegetables! How-to notes and photos about carving a cat pumpkin as well as a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds complete the title.
A solid addition to the Halloween shelf, especially for those who have graduated from safer, sweeter stories. (Picture book. 5-8)