Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rotten Pumpkin, our favorite book for fall 2013!

From School Library Journal

Gr 1-4–Schwartz meticulously tracks the life cycle of a pumpkin/jack-o'-lantern as it decays and eventually gives birth to new pumpkins. The gross-out factor is high, as each of the rodents, insects, molds,, etc., do their respective jobs. For example, the fly states: “You're gonna love hearing how I eat. I vomit on the pumpkin flesh. My vomit dissolves pumpkin nutrients so I can lap them up.” Fifteen different organisms describe their role in the eventual demise of this jack-o'-lantern. The photography is sharp and clear, and effectively ramps up the “eww” element. A few concerns might be the occasional use of the vernacular, as in the aforementioned “gonna,” and some younger children could be upset about the fate of their carefully carved pumpkins. Jack's plaintive voice is heard now and then: “Where once I smiled and winked, now fungi ring my mouth and eyes. A cheerful jack I am no more.” Schwartz includes some suggestions for classroom investigations, and they would be a wonderful vehicle for scientific explorations. Those wishing for a gentler look at this process might go to Wendy Pfeffer's A Log's Life (S & S, 1997).–Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.

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