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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TO MARKET, TO MARKET

A marketing trip from Miranda (Glad Monster, Sad Monster, p. 1309) that jiggity jigs off in time-honored nursery-rhyme fashion, but almost immediately derails into well-charted chaos. The foodstuffs—the fat pig, the red hen, the plump goose, the pea pods, peppers, garlic, and spice—are wholly reasonable in light of the author's mention of shopping at traditional Spanish mercados, which stock live animals and vegetables. Stevens transfers the action to a standard American supermarket and a standard American kitchen, bringing hilarity to scenes that combine acrylics, oil pastels, and colored pencil with photo and fabric collage elements. The result is increasing frazzlement for the shopper, an older woman wearing spectacles, hat, and purple pumps (one of which is consumed by her groceries). It's back to market one last time for ingredients for the hot vegetable soup she prepares for the whole bunch. True, her kitchen's trashed and she probably won't find a welcome mat at her supermarket hereafter, but all's well that ends well—at least while the soup's on. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-15-200035-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1997

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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