Every year, giant pumpkin contests take place at fairs across the country—the 2012 record-holder weighed over a ton! The latest craze is to carve the most enormous pumpkins into racing boats. But what’s next? Why not think really big? Award-winning artist Wendell Minor does just that as he imagines larger-than-life pumpkins decorating some of America’s favorite places—as immense as the Capitol dome, Mount Rushmore, the Brooklyn Bridge, even the Grand Canyon! This celebration of famous landmarks and landscapes ...
Every year, giant pumpkin contests take place at fairs across the country—the 2012 record-holder weighed over a ton! The latest craze is to carve the most enormous pumpkins into racing boats. But what’s next? Why not think really big? Award-winning artist Wendell Minor does just that as he imagines larger-than-life pumpkins decorating some of America’s favorite places—as immense as the Capitol dome, Mount Rushmore, the Brooklyn Bridge, even the Grand Canyon! This celebration of famous landmarks and landscapes plays with concepts of size and scale and is full of fun facts.
The New York Times Book Review
- Sarah Harrison Smith
While the pie's in the oven, savor Minor's mighty vocabulary, silly humor and intriguing facts.
Halloween is a day that sets imaginations spinning, and Minor encourages some pumpkin-themed thought experiments of his own—while boosting kids’ vocabularies and giving them a brief tour of the U.S. to boot. Minor’s dramatic gouache and watercolor paintings take center stage as he asks readers to consider the possibilities of a nation full of giant pumpkins. “Your gigantic pumpkin could glow like the skyscrapers,” he writes as a smiley jack-o’-lantern perches on the Brooklyn Bridge; “Would your giant pumpkin be boss in a jumbo cowboy hat?” he continues as a pumpkin with star-shaped eye holes nestles among Texas oil rigs. A picture book as American as pumpkin pie. Ages 3–5. (Aug.)
The Horn Book
“Minor imagines . . . JUMBO pumpkins, placing each in a signature American scene for a bit of geographical literacy and a good deal of juxtapositional fun. The artist’s proven talent for classic landscapes here gets a wink with the STUPENDOUS jack-o’-lanterns plomping their grinning selves down like they owned the place.”
“After introducing giant pumpkins and giant pumpkin festivals, Minor asks, ‘What can you do with an ENORMOUS pumpkin?’ He offers a number of memorable answers (some factual, others fanciful) based on real sites in America and amplified by his wonderfully visual imagination. . . . Kids will enjoy the increasing absurdity as much as the challenge of guessing the locations pictured. A concluding two-page spread names the 14 sites depicted and gives a little information about each one. Minor’s watercolor-and-gouache paintings are well composed, richly colored, and (best of all) just plain fun. With a text that asks leading questions, this picture book makes a fine, imaginative read-aloud choice.”
Library Media Connection
“Beautifully illustrated book. . . . In addition to enjoying Minor’s gouache and watercolor illustrations, readers are provided with fun facts about over a dozen places in the United States. . . . Would also provide a useful introduction to synonyms, sprinkling words like ‘enormous,’ ‘gigantic,’ ‘jumbo,’ ‘immense,’ and ‘colossal’ throughout the text.”
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Starting in a patch filled with large but ordinary pumpkins, this book quickly takes a turn for the fantastical as Minor imaginatively answers the title question. With each page, the pumpkins grow bigger, becoming gigantic jack-o'-lanterns. Ranging from comically spooky to downright scary, they loom over American landmarks. Some of the places are instantly recognizable, such as the Mt. Rushmore National Memorial or the U.S. Capitol, others less so, like a Yosemite Park waterfall. An appended list of these monuments and attractions gives their states and a brief informative blurb about each one and underscores the connection between an otherwise random-seeming mix of destinations: they are all remarkable in some way because of their size. The autumnal orange of the pumpkins stands out among the more subdued greens and blues of Minor's gouache and watercolor illustrations, their full-page dimensions well suited for sharing this book with a group. On each spread, a different synonym for "big," such as "mighty" or "immense," appears in large colorful caps, while the rest of the spare text is in set in a large black font. Blending Halloween and harvest themes, this book could find its place in libraries that are seeking to augment their autumn collections.—Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, formerly at Chappaqua Library, NY
Minor focuses his attention on the symbolic gourd of fall, juxtaposing national landmarks or record-setting structures with visions of impossibly enormous pumpkins or jack-o'-lanterns. The title poses a tantalizing question that leads gracefully from the real to the surreal. What follows in each full-bleed spread is a famous site--man-made or natural--painted with watercolor and gouache that majestically captures the impressiveness of the place. He includes in these illustrations an image of a wildly oversized pumpkin. It's a quirky notion, and it kind of works. Few children would seek out a book on important places to see across the United States. A better bet is a title like this one, which imparts that information while also making them laugh at the sheer humor in the pictures. One image shows the highest roller coaster feeding into the open mouth of a fierce-looking jack-o'-lantern. Another pumpkin innocently stops traffic when it is placed in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge. Yet another smiles up close as a rocket takes off from Cape Canaveral. From Connecticut to California, 14 places are featured. More information about them is provided at the end of the book. Playing with scale and prompting readers to think big ensures a quick and entertaining tour to awesome sights. (Picture book. 4-8)
Wendell Minor (www.minorart.com) has traveled throughout the United States to research art for over fifty award-winning picture books, which include America the Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates, Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin, The Wolves Are Back by Jean Craighead George, and his own Yankee Doodle America and My Farm Friends. His paintings are in the permanent collections of the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Eric Carle Museum, and the Library of Congress. He lives in Washington, Connecticut.