The Very Best Pumpkin

What It Is

This is the story of a boy who wanted to grow the very best pumpkin (as the title implies) and ends up gaining a very good friend. Young Peter lives on Pumpkin Hollow Farm with his grandparents, and though he enjoys all the fruits and vegetables that they grow, pumpkins are his favorite. One summer, Peter finds a lonely little pumpkin at the end of a very long vine and decides to nurture and care for it. Young Meg, who moves in next door, believes she secretly watches Peter tend to the pumpkin as it grows. That fall, Meg and her family come to the farm to select a pumpkin. Which one does she pick? Why, Peter’s of course. She meekly admits that she’s had her eye on the pumpkin. Peter in return admits he knew she was watching him and the two begin a wonderful friendship.

Why It’s Fun

The beginning of fall gets us in the mood to read books about pumpkins and all things autumnal. Mark Kimball Moulton’s story delivers on the pumpkins and adds a tale of friendship — a theme that seems especially important with the start of the new school year. However, the growing friendship between Meg and Peter is a fun twist, but it happens at the book’s conclusion and seems stuck in with the story’s abrupt ending. Had the friendship been worked into the story a bit more, it would have been much more endearing. Karen Hillard Good’s illustrations are reminiscent of Mary Engelbreit’s and give the story some needed warmth. There’s also a handy guide to growing pumpkins in the back of the book for those who want to give it a try.

Who’s Going To Love It

I can easily see this story being read in class because it gives teachers a nice conversation starter about building friendships. As far as making it an addition to your home library, I’d recommend looking for it at the library before choosing to buy it.

Reading Time

About four minutes

Read-It-Again Points

7 out of 10

Book Information

The Very Best Pumpkin
By: Mark Kimball Moulton, Illustrated by Karen Hillard Good
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2010)
Approximate retail price: $12.99 (hardcover)
Publisher’s recommended ages: 4 - 8


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