Friday, October 22, 2010

Best Halloween & Fall Picture Books: Pumpkins (Non-Fiction)

Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden (ages 4-10) by George Levenson  (non-fiction)
Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a GardenThe intriguing story of a pumpkin’s life cycle from seed to pumpkin plant to seed again is recorded in a clear, concise manner.  The vibrant, full color photographs give the reader a close up view of the plants’ progression.  The text is written in a pleasing, bouncy free verse.  Further information is provided in the appendix on how to grow and harvest a pumpkin garden.  This book is my top pick for pictures and text! 
From Seed to Pumpkin (ages 5-8) by Wendy Pfeffer (non-fiction)
From Seed to Pumpkin (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 1) (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1)Written in a casual narrative style, the journey from seed to pumpkin is revealed.  The water-color and pencil pictures expand the text and engage the reader.  The information is similar to other books on the list, but it has a few additional features.  For instance, the illustrations show what is going on underground as the roots shoot out and plants’ spout.  In understandable terms, photosynthesis is discussed and illustrated.  In the appendix, a recipe for pumpkin seeds and an experiment on how plants drink water is provided.  This book is my top pick for informative text. 
From Seed to Pumpkin (ages 4-7) by Jan Kottke (non-fiction)
Ideal for the early reader or primary student, the progression from seed to pumpkin in illustrated.  Key terms (such as seed, soil, shoot, and stem) are bolded in text and defined in the glossary, similar to a text book.  The essential role of bees and pollination is explained. The glowing photographs are laid out perfectly to show the succession from flower to fruit.   The appendix includes additional books and web sites to compliment the book’s material.  
The Pumpkin Book (ages 4-8) by Gail Gibbons (non-fiction)
The Pumpkin BookUsing simple, cartoon pictures and prose, the planting, cultivating, and harvesting of pumpkins are illustrated.  In addition, the history of autumn’s most popular fruit is briefly reviewed along with connections to the Pilgrims, the first Thanksgiving feast, and Halloween. 
Pumpkins (ages 6-11) by Jacqueline Farmer (non-fiction)
PumpkinsIn a fluid, conversational style, facts about pumpkins are laid out. While it includes a synopsis of how pumpkins grow, it branches off into many other areas.  For instance, several types of pumpkins are illustrated and identified, including their purposes (i.e. not all pumpkins are for carving jack-o-lanterns). Also, the role of pumpkins in various cultures is discussed.  Fast Facts, like the heaviest and largest pumpkin, are recorded.  The water color and sketch illustrations satisfactorily support the text.   Unlike the other selections on the list, this book will probably need to be read and discussed in more than one sitting, especially for younger children.  

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