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Too Many Pumpkins



Last updated Friday, November 4, 2005

Author: Linda White
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0823412458
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2005

Synopsis: Rebecca Estelle hates pumpkins. "What's not to like?" you may be thinking. Certainly, pumpkins are benign, as far as gourds go, and they make for delicious pies. But if you were forced to eat only pumpkins (baked, steamed, boiled, stewed, mashed, and rotten), you might agree with Rebecca, who was so poor as a child that she could only afford to eat the unrelentingly orange squash. One day, years and years later, white-haired Rebecca was busy not eating pumpkins when--SPLAT--a giant pumpkin fell off an overloaded truck and smashed into her yard. She buried the mess so she wouldn't have to look at it, and, as you might imagine, she witnessed a bumper crop the following fall. In Too Many Pumpkins, a 1996 American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists," Linda White (who based the book on her own pumpkin-eating aunt Becky) reveals how swallowing one's personal (pumpkin) prejudices can end up benefiting a whole community. Illustrator Megan Lloyd creates spunky, detail-rich drawings that are sure to hold up to the scrutiny of youngsters everywhere. This is an ideal Halloween-time book for those who want to bypass ghouls and goblins (or any actual mention of Halloween) and focus on ... pumpkins!

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Look at the cover: why do you think there are so many pumpkins?
•  How do you think there came to be so many pumpkins?
•  Do you have any food that you really don?t like? Why don?t you like it?
•  Have you ever been to a pumpkin patch? How do pumpkins grow?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why does Rebecca Estelle hate pumpkins?
•  How did so many pumpkins get in Rebecca?s garden?
•  What things does she try and do to get rid of them?
•  Does ignoring the problem work? Why not?
•  Have you ever had a problem that you ignored and it got worse?
•  How does she finally get rid of all the pumpkins?
•  What would you have done with lots of pumpkins?
•  Who comes to visit Rebecca and her jack-o-lanterns?
•  What is she planning on doing next year?
•  Do you think Rebecca still hates pumpkins? Why or why not?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a pumpkin recipe book in the shape of a pumpkin. Bring ahead options: Recipes to put in the pumpkin book.
•  Make a pop-up page of a garden out of construction paper, where when you open up the page, the garden, with pumpkin plants, pops up in 3D.
•  Bring ahead options: pumpkin seeds, cups and dirt to try to grow pumpkins.

Special activities:
•  Divide the group into two teams, and put two piles of crayons at the other end of the room. The people on each team have to take turns going to the pile (in the way you designate, say bunny hops or crab walk), pick up a crayon and come back. First team to get all of the crayons back wins.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!