The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin

( 1 )

Overview

There was once a small pumpkin in a great big field,
A very small green pumpkin the size of an apple.

The little pumpkin dreams that one day he will grow up to be a fierce yellow pumpkin who scares the field mice, like the scarecrow does.

Then one day in autumn, three children come to his field, and he unexpectedly gets the chance for his dream to come true. . . .

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Overview

There was once a small pumpkin in a great big field,
A very small green pumpkin the size of an apple.

The little pumpkin dreams that one day he will grow up to be a fierce yellow pumpkin who scares the field mice, like the scarecrow does.

Then one day in autumn, three children come to his field, and he unexpectedly gets the chance for his dream to come true. . . .

This long-lost treasure from the author of Goodnight Moon has never before been published. Who Better to bring it to life than Caldecott Medalist Richard Egielski? His rich, warm illustrations are the perfect complement to the inimitable words of Margaret Wise Brown.

A little pumpkin dreams of the day when he will be a big, fierce, yellow pumpkin who frightens away the field mice as the scarecrow does.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"There was once a small pumpkin in a great big field, a very small green pumpkin the size of an apple. The fierce sun burned down on the little pumpkin, and he grew and grew. And pretty soon, there was a fat little, round little, yellow little pumpkin in a great big field." Long lost, this Halloween story by the author of Goodnight Moon is now published for the first time. This edition features glorious illustrations by Caldecott Medal winner Richard Egielski.
The Washington Post
Wittily illustrated by the great Richard Egielski.— Elizabeth Ward
The New York Times
Margaret Wise Brown's story of a pumpkin that admires the scarecrow on the other side of the field is observant, imaginative and more than a bit quaint. — Susan Marie Swanson
Publishers Weekly
A pumpkin's dream comes true when three children make him as spooky as a scarecrow. "Egielski suspensefully keeps the pumpkin's face hidden until a wordless double spread reveals its candlelit glory," said PW in a starred review. Ages 3-6. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This never before published story by one of the country's most endearing authors will indeed be a welcome addition to the Fall/Halloween season in any home or library. Though it's not frightening to readers it is terrifying to any mice that might be in your audience. A small, sweet, little apple-sized yellow pumpkin wishes to be a big fierce pumpkin—as fierce as the hot sun that bakes down upon it, and would scare the field mice away. Soon thereafter the sun was not as fierce and something in the air tingled the pumpkins sides. The pumpkin notices it is not small and yellow, but the color of the hot burning sun—a fiery orange-yellow. Surely the pumpkin is frightening to mice now. Some children are not afraid; in fact they think the pumpkin is their most perfect, terrific, terrible pumpkin. Will the pumpkin be the fierce pumpkin it wants to be? At night, after the children have cleaned out the pumpkin and carved a ferocious face, the pumpkin is placed on their porch with a lighted candle inside so everyone can see how fierce—yet how happy—a pumpkin can be. The colors are brilliant, adding intensity on each page from the somber mellow hues of a hot, sultry, summer day to crisp, bright, frisky autumnal shades. The illustrations alone are exuberant and can relate a story of their own. This is one that will be hard to keep on the shelves, at least for one season! 2003, HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 3 to 6.
—Elizabeth Young
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-In melodic, flowing prose, readers are introduced to a "fat little, round little, yellow little pumpkin in a great big field." Here the artist paints a huge, searing white sun rising behind the yellow-green pumpkin to contrast beautifully with him and make his eventual growth into a big, orange pumpkin vivid and dramatic. This little pumpkin dreams of making a "fierce, ferocious gobble-gobble face" to scare away the field mice "like the scarecrow does." The intense sun-gold skies match the mood here wonderfully. Somber grays and taupes on the next several pages provide visual contrast and slow down the pace so that children can take in more of the details. The little pumpkin feels a "crisp tingle that tickled [his] sides." After three children take him home and use a small saw knife to make his mouth "zigzag up and zigzag down," he says, "Ho, ho, ho!/He, he, he!/Mice will run/when they see me." The youngsters dance gleefully about him singing a song to the "terrific, terrible pumpkin." With Brown's rhythmic text and patterned language and Egielski's illustrations highlighting the moods she evokes, this title is a real treat for Halloween storytimes. Also, it's a surefire hit for creative drama activities because of all the action and emotion in the story.-James K. Irwin, Poplar Creek Main Library, Steamwood, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a previously unpublished tale from Brown (whose newly unearthed early work is filling the shelves lately), a "fat little, round little, yellow little pumpkin" enviously regards a one-eyed scarecrow while growing into a "fiery orange-yellow pumpkin. The color of the sun"-whereupon three children carry it off to make it into a jack-o-lantern. Along with a trio of field mice, children can follow the pumpkin's development as seasons change in Egielski's ground-level scenes, then jump in surprise at coming face-to-face, in a spread-filling close-up, with a "terrific, terrible pumpkin," bearing a new zigzag grin: "Ho, ho, ho! / He, he, he! / Mice will run / when they see me!" The mice do indeed scamper off, but young audiences are more likely to stay put, ready for a repeat encounter with this long-buried episode. (Picture book. 5-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060244798
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/5/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 351,727
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Few writers have been as attuned to the concerns and emotions of childhood as Margaret Wise Brown (1910-1952). A graduate of Hollins College and the progressive Bank Street College of Education, she combined her literary aspirations with the study of child development. Her unique ability to see the world through a child's eyes is unequaled. Her many classic books continue to delight thousands of young listeners and readers year after year.

Muy pocos escritores de literatura infantil han logrado captar las emociones e inquietudes de la niñez como Margaret Wise Brown (1910-1952). Sus numerosos y ya clásicos libros y grabaciones continúan deleitando a lectores y oyentes de todas las edades.

Richard Egielski is the Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator of Hey, Al and many other books for children, including the Tub People series by Pam Conrad. He is also the author and illustrator of Buz and Jazper, both New York Times Best Illustrated Books, Three Magic Balls, and The Gingerbread Boy. Mr. Egielski lives in Milford, New Jersey, with his wife and son.

Biography

When Margaret Wise Brown began to write for young children, most picture books were written by illustrators, whose training and talents lay mainly in the visual arts. Brown, the author of Goodnight Moon, was the first picture-book author to achieve recognition as a writer, and the first, according to historian Barbara Bader, "to make the writing of picture books an art."

After graduating college in 1932, Brown's first ambition was to write literature for adults; but when she entered a program for student teachers in New York, she was thrilled by the experience of working with young children, and inspired by the program's progressive leader, the education reformer Lucy Sprague Mitchell. Mitchell held that stories for very young children should be grounded in "the here and now" rather than nonsense or fantasy. For children aged two to five, she thought, real experience was magical enough without embellishments.

Few children's authors had attempted to write specifically for so young an audience, but Brown quickly proved herself gifted at the task. She was appointed editor of a new publishing firm devoted to children's books, where she cultivated promising new writers and illustrators, helped develop innovations like the board book, and became, as her biographer Leonard S. Marcus notes, "one of the central figures of a period now considered the golden age of the American picture book."

Though Brown was intensely interested in modernist writers like Gertrude Stein (whom she persuaded to write a children's book, The World Is Round), it was a medieval ballad that provided the inspiration for The Runaway Bunny (1942), illustrated by Clement Hurd. The Runaway Bunny was Brown's first departure from the here-and-now style of writing, and became one of her most popular books.

Goodnight Moon, another collaboration with Hurd, appeared in 1947. The story of a little rabbit's bedtime ritual, its rhythmic litany of familiar objects placed it somewhere between the nursery rhyme and the here-and-now story. At first it was only moderately successful, but its popularity gradually climbed, and by 2000, it was among the top 40 best-selling children's books of all time.

The postwar baby boom helped propel sales of Brown's many picture books, including Two Little Trains (1949) and The Important Book (1949). After the author died in 1952, at the age of 42, many of her unpublished manuscripts were illustrated and made into books, but Brown remains best known for Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny.

More people recognize those titles than recognize the name of their author, but Margaret Wise Brown wouldn't have minded. "It didn't seem important that anyone wrote them," she once said of the books she read as a child. "And it still doesn't seem important. I wish I didn't have ever to sign my long name on the cover of a book and I wish I could write a story that would seem absolutely true to the child who hears it and to myself." For millions of children who have settled down to hear her stories, she did just that.

Good To Know

When Goodnight Moon first appeared, the New York Public Library declined to buy it (an internal reviewer dismissed it as too sentimental). The book sold fairly well until 1953, when sales began to climb, perhaps because of word-of-mouth recommendations by parents. More than 4 million copies have now been sold. The New York Public Library finally placed its first order for the book in 1973.

If you look closely at the bookshelves illustrated in Goodnight Moon, you'll see that one of the little rabbit's books is The Runaway Bunny. One of three framed pictures on the walls shows a scene from the same book.

Brown's death was a stunning and sad surprise. The author had had an emergency appendectomy in France while on a book tour, which was successful; but when she did a can-can kick days later to demonstrate her good health to her doctor, it caused a fatal embolism.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Golden MacDonald, Juniper Sage, Timothy Hay
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 23, 1910
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, N.Y.
    1. Date of Death:
      November 13, 1952
    2. Place of Death:
      Nice, France

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