PUMPKINHEAD

One thing you can say about Pumpkintown: Everyone has squash for brains. Young Pumpkinhead, who lives in Pumpkintown with all the other pumpkinheads, gets to wondering: “Does everyone in the world have a pumpkin head?” All of the townsfolk figure that’s probably the case, but then no one in town has ever been outside of town. All except Pumpkinhead’s mother, who, by telling Pumpkinhead that the answer to that question is a mystery, sets the lad on his quest of discovery. He takes to the road to learn the truth. That first night, so as not to lose his way in the morning, he removes his head before he goes to sleep and points it in the direction he wants to go when he wakes. Two mischievous squirrels overhear Pumpkinhead talking to himself about this stratagem and when he falls asleep, they give his head a half turn. When Pumpkinhead takes off in the morning, he’s heading home, though he doesn’t know it, and sure enough he comes upon a town like Pumpkintown, just like Pumpkintown. After talking with the townsfolk, who assure him that they are all pumpkinheads (his parents included, since they don’t recognize him), he heads back the way he came to tell his neighbors the news. He bunks under the same tree he had the night before, gets the same treatment from the squirrels, and winds up back home, yet again, with news of a world full of pumpkinheads. Bright with folly and tomfoolery, Kimmel’s tale has universal application and is ideally depicted by Haskamp’s crew of amiably clownish pumpkinheads. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-890817-33-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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