How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow?

How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow? illus. by author. 32p. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks. Aug. 2013. RTE $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24684-5.
K-Gr 2—Starting in a patch filled with large but ordinary pumpkins, this book quickly takes a turn for the fantastical as Minor imaginatively answers the title question. With each page, the pumpkins grow bigger, becoming gigantic jack-o'-lanterns. Ranging from comically spooky to downright scary, they loom over American landmarks. Some of the places are instantly recognizable, such as the Mt. Rushmore National Memorial or the U.S. Capitol, others less so, like a Yosemite Park waterfall. An appended list of these monuments and attractions gives their states and a brief informative blurb about each one and underscores the connection between an otherwise random-seeming mix of destinations: they are all remarkable in some way because of their size. The autumnal orange of the pumpkins stands out among the more subdued greens and blues of Minor's gouache and watercolor illustrations, their full-page dimensions well suited for sharing this book with a group. On each spread, a different synonym for "big," such as "mighty" or "immense," appears in large colorful caps, while the rest of the spare text is in set in a large black font. Blending Halloween and harvest themes, this book could find its place in libraries that are seeking to augment their autumn collections.—Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, formerly at Chappaqua Library, NY
There are BIG pumpkins, of course, but what about those that are ENORMOUS, GIGANTIC, and COLOSSAL? Minor imagines just such JUMBO pumpkins, placing each in a signature American scene (a MIGHTY pumpkin on Mount Rushmore, for example) for a bit of geographical literacy and a good deal of juxtapositional fun. The artist's proven talent for classic landscapes here gets a wink with the STUPENDOUS jack-o'-lanterns plomping their grinning selves down like they owned the place. Facts about each place depicted are appended. roger sutton

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