Night of the Pumpkinheads

Overview

A group of restless pumpkinheads are tired of spending every Halloween sitting on the porch while all the kids get to dress up and go trick-or-treating. This year, the pumpkins magnificently transform into fearsome Frankenstein, the Loch Ness monster, a woolly mammoth, and even a grand slime beast . . . and then hit the town!

Kids and parents will love ogling the astounding photographs of Hugh McMahon's real carved pumpkins and laughing along with the story"s surprise ending. ...

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Overview

A group of restless pumpkinheads are tired of spending every Halloween sitting on the porch while all the kids get to dress up and go trick-or-treating. This year, the pumpkins magnificently transform into fearsome Frankenstein, the Loch Ness monster, a woolly mammoth, and even a grand slime beast . . . and then hit the town!

Kids and parents will love ogling the astounding photographs of Hugh McMahon's real carved pumpkins and laughing along with the story"s surprise ending. And with step-by-step carving instructions and photos included in the book, they can also create their own masterpieces.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Pumpkinheads have had it with sitting pretty on Halloween: “For once, why can’t we dress up and go out?” Crisp photographs display McMahon’s stunning pumpkin carvings, which include a mastodon whose furry face and tusks stand atop stacked pumpkin legs; white pumpkins dressed as ghosts; and green pumpkins that form Frankenstein’s monster. Though the meandering story, which gets “hijacked” by some garden veggies, feels little more than an excuse to show off McMahon’s talents, his wildly inventive carvings may inspire readers to think outside the jack-o’-lantern. Ages 5–8. (Aug.)
Booklist
“fabulous eye candy”
Children's Literature - Emily Griffin
The Union of Pumpkinheads is fed up with how they are treated on Halloween. After weeks of waiting around on the vine to be plucked they are then subjected to wearing lame grin's on their faces and sitting on a porch. So all the pumpkins, big and small, plot an elaborate coup to scare children come Halloween. This concept and the text of the story is not what drives Night of the Pumpkinheads, though this does not mean it will not appeal to children and it may be a good choice to use with a reluctant reader. The photographs of actual carved pumpkins is what makes this Halloween book unique. A note on the end page explains how the photographs were digitally assembled onto the backgrounds (a dark blue, as the night sky) with added pencil drawings. McMahon, a professional pumpkin carver—yes, this is really his job—has created truly magnificent carved pumpkins to illustrate the story. The detail and elaborately displayed scenes are worth a look. This is a good example for students about multimedia illustrations and different art mediums used in picture books. Reviewer: Emily Griffin
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Halloween looms, and several pumpkins scheme to scare the children who will soon be trick-or-treating. Jackpot, head of the Union of Pumpkinheads, proposes a contest for the scariest carved jack o'lantern. Whoever spooks the children the most will be crowned head of the holiday. Each one thinks of a costume to complement its appearance: a white pumpkin zombie mime, dinosaurs from colossal pumpkins, a swarm of killer bees and eyeballs from the minis. Contemptuous pumpkins deny other vegetables the opportunity to participate, but the joke is on them. It turns out that small children are far more scared of leeks, turnips, and parsnips than of carved pumpkins. The illustrations combine photographs with pencil drawings. Black backgrounds provide drama and allow the glowing contestants to shine. Details in pencil fill out the spreads, adding fences, vines, and partial views of the costumed children the pumpkins hope to scare. The story line is thin and choppy; the book is more of a vehicle to showcase McMahon's carving skills. For some readers, the plot deficiencies will not matter much, as the artwork is astoundingly detailed and creative. An illustrated two-page guide gives a basic overview on how to carve a scaredy-cat pumpkin. Libraries with substantial holiday collections may wish to supplement with this title.—Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR
Kirkus Reviews

Rosen's latest serves primarily as a vehicle for expert pumpkin-artist McMahon's amazing carvings.

Digitally assembled with photographs of McMahon's work and pencil drawings, the illustrations treat readers to spirited images of spunky pumpkins rising up to take an active part in trick-or-treating instead of remaining parked on porches. At the pumpkin patch, "ideas of creepy, chilling costumes filled the air above..." Their "costumes" are masterfully executed carvings meant to scare children on Halloween. A saber-toothed tiger and a cobra are most fearsome. But other pumpkins choose to resemble prehistoric beasts, while some settle for common choices of spiders and skeletons. Young readers will be inspired by the rarely encountered white pumpkins balanced to create a teetering zombie or the green ones put together into Frankenstein's monster and the "Lock" [sic] Ness Monster. A mob of radishes, turnips, leeks and rutabagas begs to be part of the fun, but the pumpkinheads answer, "No way!" They want the thrill of terrifying the kids all to themselves. Predictably, the trick-or-treaters only giggle at them. What causes fearful mayhem is the arrival of—you guessed it—the dreaded vegetables! How-to notes and photos about carving a cat pumpkin as well as a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds complete the title.

A solid addition to the Halloween shelf, especially for those who have graduated from safer, sweeter stories. (Picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803734524
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/18/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael J. Rosen has written many award-winning books for kids. He lives in Glenford, Ohio.

Master carver Hugh McMahon lives in Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared on Today, Good Morning America, Martha Stewart, and many other places.

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