PUMPKIN MOON by Tim Preston


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 10
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Slick production, heavy paper, an oversized (9 ¾ x 12 ¾ inches) format, and a handsome, stylized, 1950s sci-fi film look combine for a simple yet clever celebration of America’s favorite autumn holiday. “October 31 / It’s Halloween.” In a small New England–esque village-cum-subdivision, children prepare for Halloween. Inside golden and pumpkin-orange–toned rooms, a tableau reveals a clutch of retro-looking children carving jack-’o-lanterns and designing costumes. At midnight, with the trick-or-treating over and the children asleep, a mysterious enchantment causes hundreds of jack-’o-lanterns to rise and converge (along with a few broomsticks, some witches, ghosts, and quite a few ghouls), swooping through the night. A truck driver is amazed and startled, a convenience store is terrorized, and the sky is filled with grinning pumpkins that glow eerily and dance under a not-so-benign orange “pumpkin moon.” The next morning, the landscape is littered with pumpkin detritus while a newspaper headline asks and village kids wonder: “Halloween Hoax or Alien Invasion?” It’s impossible to approach this clever, handsome, British import without seeing it as a rather obvious homage to David Weisner’s Caldecott-winning Tuesday (1991). Spare, headline-like text combines effectively with Bartram’s bright autumnal palette. The interplay of spooky light and shadows, heightened by changing cinematic points of view, delivers a crowd-pleasing—if derivative—Halloween entry. A standout in a crowded pumpkin field. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-525-46713-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2001


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