Monday, October 13, 2014

Get Thee To a Pumpkin Patch ... But Read These First! (Books. Lists. Love.)

It's pumpkin time!

Everyone knows that books about autumn and fall and pumpkins are a dime a dozen. Every author and wanna-be-author out there knows that once late September/early October rolls around, Americans are suckers for anything "fall" and an autumn-inspired picture book is sure to fly off the shelves.  (Mom feels guilty about treating herself to all those bookstore cafe pumpkin lattes, so she picks up the nearest "all about autumn" book for her child :) )

"Fall" sells. 

Right now it's mid October and "pumpkin" is the flavor/decoration/scent/book topic du jour.  You can scan the library book shelves for ten seconds and walk out of there with four dozen books about pumpkins.  People love pumpkins.  (I count myself among the pumpkin-loving throngs.)  I am sad to say though, that even though they are every children's authors favorite money-in-the-bag topics, not all books about fall and pumpkins are good.  

We've taken them all out of the library and the kids and I have weeded out the rotten ones and plucked the perfect ones.  Here's a list of our favorites. 

 Ten Fall/Pumpkin Picture Books 
(you should go out of your way to read)

 Too Many Pumpkins, Linda White
This is our very favorite-of-all-time pumpkin book.  Rebecca Estelle hates pumpkins but finds herself with quite a few of them on her hands one year.  She comes up with the best solution to her problem.  Such a fun story!  (we've taken it out of the library four years in a row now.  Maybe I should just buy it...)

 Strega Nona's Harvest, Tomie DePaola
Strega Nona's garden is neat and tidy.  Big Anthony's garden is a disorganized mess.  Come harvest time, what will they do with all they harvest??

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?. Margaret McNamara
This is one of those sneaky books - the kind with a fun story and information.  You're a little smarter when you finish reading.  The kids in Mr. Tifton's class learn some interesting facts about pumpkin seeds and even practice their skip counting along the way!

The Very Best Pumpkin, Mark Kimball Moulton 
This is a sweet story - with lovely country-shabby-chic illustrations - about a friendship that grows alongside a twisty, winding pumpkin plant.

The Great Pumpkin Switch , Megan Mc Donald
Grandpa tells the story of of the year he and his friend accidentally spoiled his sister's prize pumpkin and how they "replaced" it :)

The Pumpkin Book , Gail Gibbons
Gail Gibbons strikes again - lots of information and fun and colorful illustrations.

From Seed to Pumpkin , Wendy Pfeffer
A great science book with information on the life cycle of a pumpkin plant that is completely accessible to younger children.

Why Do Leaves Change Color? , Betsy Maestro
Like the book above, this books has lots of information presented for kids to understand and apply in the natural world around them.

Every Autumn Comes the Bear , Jim Arnosky
I love Jim Arnosky's nature books for children.  In this one, we get to watch Bear (from a safe distance!) as he searches for the den in which he'll spend the winter.

  Possum's Harvest Moon, Anne Hunter
Possum is so anxious to celebrate the gorgeous harvest moon, but all of his friends are busy preparing for the cold winter ahead...  

*   *   *   *   *   *

Those are our favorites.  What picture books about fall are on your list of must reads? 


  1. Those look like excellent books! I think I will add a couple of them to my library list.

  2. You probably know from your Aussie family but we don't really experience Autumn/Fall here. Further inland in the colder climates they do but here we really only talk about two seasons, summer and winter with a couple of weeks of Autumn and Spring.
    However the books look great so off to source my library, though chances will be slim for this topic I imagine

  3. Just thought of a pumpkin title, an Australian title
    Farmer Pelz's Pumpkin - Colin Thiele

    1. just checked our library but that title's not available here :(
      In a way, I feel like Autumn is a cultural thing here, in addition to obviously being a season. There's so much that goes on to celebrate the season - mulled cider, roasted chestnuts, football, and pumpkin pie! There are so many Fall Festivals and Autumn themed everything - there's an excitement in the air when it's fall! I'd miss it if we didn't have it. (it's my favorite season!)

  4. I've just discovered your blog while researching ideas for wooden peg dolls. You are into all my favorite things- children's literature, crafts, and homeschooling, though I only gather ideas about homeschooling at this point as my daughter is only 1! Anyway, I saw the title of this post on another blog entry, and immediately wondered if you would mention one of my new favorites- Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White. I was so delighted to see it was your very first one! :) Such a cute, heartwarming story with wonderful illustrations. I just thought I would tell you that I have really been enjoying exploring your blog - thank you for sharing! Katie


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