cover image Pumpkin Town!: Or, Nothing Is Better and Worse Than Pumpkins

Pumpkin Town!: Or, Nothing Is Better and Worse Than Pumpkins

Katie Mcky. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-618-60569-9

For every action there is a reaction, as a family of pumpkin-growers learn to its chagrin. (This balance is reflected in the book's subtitle: ""Or, Nothing Is Better and Worse Than Pumpkins."") After harvesting their crops, Jose and his brothers always dispose of unpromising seeds into a field. But on one particularly gusty October, the wind carries the seeds to a nearby town and they take root everywhere. ""Soon, the townspeople were stepping over pumpkins and around pumpkins and under pumpkins; it was hard to walk even a block."" Unfortunately, the wordy, woolly prose that follows makes the story's denouement hard to follow. Readers will eventually determine that Jose and his brothers do the right thing, earn a tasty reward and set in motion yet another comedic, agriculturally-based calamity. The real attraction here is Bernasconi's (The Wizard, the Ugly and the Book of Shame) wittily collaged illustrations. Fashioned out of clipped, cropped and julienned photographs, the pictures have a giddy hand-hewn exuberance that bring to mind the work of a rural scrapbooker gone delectably mad. Buoyed by this artwork, a rather weak narrative assumes the stature of a genuine tall tale. Ages 4-8.