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NO MORE PUMPKINS by Peter Catalanotto


Second-Grade Friends, Book 2

by Peter Catalanotto and Pamela Schembri & illustrated by Peter Catalanotto

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8050-7839-8
Publisher: Henry Holt

This entry in the chapter-book series Second Grade Friends tackles one bump in the friendship between Vinni and Emily. Their class has been studying pumpkins ad nauseum throughout the month, and their culminating project is to carve jack-o’-lantern self-portraits for next week’s Open House. But during the weekend before Open House is Emily’s birthday party, a hotly anticipated event that Vinni doesn’t attend, resulting in hurt feelings on both sides and a sadly damaged pumpkin. The narrative elides the actual party, two chapters on either side bookending the event. This technique allows for some fairly sophisticated storytelling, forcing readers to infer, through the dialogue of the other children and the characters’ actions, what happened to make Emily and Vinni so unhappy. Secondary characters, particularly the teacher whose enthusiasm for pumpkins is undiminished by his class’s impatience, emerge as distinct individuals. This cannot be said so definitively for the heroines, however, who lack the strong delineation of personality of Ivy Bean, for instance. If they are not sufficiently individuated, however, their emotions and reactions will ring true. Black-and-white ink washes provide a pleasing accompaniment. (Fiction. 7-10)