Monday, October 27, 2008

A Natural Progression

For years the most popular Halloween book in my house was Five Little Pumpkins, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. This wonderful board book has very simple text, the popular rhyme which begins, "Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate. The first one said, "Oh my, it's getting late." We hear what each pumpkin has to say until, "Ooooooooo went the wind and out went the light. And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight." It is great in so many ways, from the bold illustrations to the counting skills involved. No wonder my kids have loved it for years. But they are older now. Ghost stories and chapter books have entered the picture. They have also discovered Extreme Pumpkins and Extreme Pumpkins II by Tom Nardone. Even though my five year old thinks they are fabulous, I do not recommend these for very young children. The creativity and gross-out factor will appeal to older kids however. The books include "Diabolical do-it-yourself designs to amuse your friends and scare your neighbors." Some of the pumpkins are creepy, some are funny, like the peeing baby pumpkin, and some are gross, such as the puking pumpkin. Nardone has also put together a great website, that is fun to explore. We consulted it before carving our own family jack o'lanterns last night. While my boys especially enjoyed a creation that looked like a guy "chucking a moon" as we used to say, I'm relieved to report that they ended up drawing more traditional faces on their own pumpkins, perhaps inspired by all of our many readings of Five Little Pumpkins over the years.

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