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No More Pumpkins (Second Grade Friends Series)
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No More Pumpkins (Second Grade Friends Series)

5.0 2
by Peter Catalanotto, Pamela Schembri

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Emily is tired of pumpkins. At school she and her friend Vincetta Louise have been doing pumpkin math, pumpkin field trips, and pumpkin writing. Can't they just carve jack-o-lanterns? But even this ends up being an assignment: the kids have to make pumpkin selfportraits.

Then something happens to Emily's jack-o-lantern, and her friendship with Vinni is tested


Emily is tired of pumpkins. At school she and her friend Vincetta Louise have been doing pumpkin math, pumpkin field trips, and pumpkin writing. Can't they just carve jack-o-lanterns? But even this ends up being an assignment: the kids have to make pumpkin selfportraits.

Then something happens to Emily's jack-o-lantern, and her friendship with Vinni is tested. The two girls get past their quarrel—but will they ever want to see a pumpkin again?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Catalanotto and Schembri team up as joint author/illustrators for this second title in their "Second Grade Friends" series. Best friends Emily and Vinni are tired of their classroom's October emphasis on pumpkins—visit to a pumpkin farm; tasting of pumpkin bread, pie, and soup; reading of pumpkin stories; writing of pumpkin poems. So they are not pleased when Mr. Marvin gives them the assignment of decorating pumpkins to look like themselves. The assignment, however, gives Vinni the chance to vent her resentful feelings against Emily after she is unable to attend Emily's much-touted birthday party. Vinni vandalizes Emily's self-portrait pumpkin and then has to find a way of restoring both pumpkin and friendship. The "no more pumpkins" theme is amusing but more appropriate for kindergarten than for second grade (what second grade classes visit pumpkin farms?). Spirited Vinni steals what begins as Emily's story, told from Emily's point of view. While careful readers will enjoy seeing Vinni's revenge enacted only in a picture preceding the final chapter, Catalanotto and Schembri leave too many puzzling gaps in the text: we never really understand why Vinni is unable to attend Emily's party or see Emily's disappointment at Vinni's absence first hand. Too much time and text are spent on the too many pumpkins and not enough on the friendship dynamics that are the emotional heart of the story.
School Library Journal

Gr 1-3
Emily is tired of studying about pumpkins. Her class has weighed and measured them, and counted seeds. Now, the children have to decorate them to look like self-portraits. The second grader is excited about her birthday party on Saturday, however, so when her friend Vinni doesn't show up, she's upset. Then in school Vinni behaves oddly, arguing, sulking, and damaging Emily's pumpkin. The last chapter deals with her apology (it turns out she wanted to go to the party and felt left out when she couldn't) and Emily's acceptance of it. The black-and-white illustrations are well done and expressive. Fans of Barbara Park's "Junie B. Jones" series and Patricia Reilly Giff's "Polk Street School" books (both Random) will enjoy this beginning chapter book.
—Kelly RothCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
This entry in the chapter-book series Second Grade Friends tackles one bump in the friendship between Vinni and Emily. Their class has been studying pumpkins ad nauseum throughout the month, and their culminating project is to carve jack-o'-lantern self-portraits for next week's Open House. But during the weekend before Open House is Emily's birthday party, a hotly anticipated event that Vinni doesn't attend, resulting in hurt feelings on both sides and a sadly damaged pumpkin. The narrative elides the actual party, two chapters on either side bookending the event. This technique allows for some fairly sophisticated storytelling, forcing readers to infer, through the dialogue of the other children and the characters' actions, what happened to make Emily and Vinni so unhappy. Secondary characters, particularly the teacher whose enthusiasm for pumpkins is undiminished by his class's impatience, emerge as distinct individuals. This cannot be said so definitively for the heroines, however, who lack the strong delineation of personality of Ivy Bean, for instance. If they are not sufficiently individuated, however, their emotions and reactions will ring true. Black-and-white ink washes provide a pleasing accompaniment. (Fiction. 7-10)

Product Details

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
Second Grade Friends Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
6.17(w) x 7.34(h) x 0.57(d)
340L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

No More Pumpkins

By Peter Catalanotto, Pamela Schembri

Henry Holt and Company

Copyright © 2007 Peter Catalanotto and Pamela Schembri
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8050-7839-8


Mr. Marvin's Big Idea

Emily was tired of pumpkins.

In her second-grade class they had weighed pumpkins, measured pumpkins, and counted seeds from pumpkins.

They went to a pumpkin farm.

They tasted pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin soup.

They heard pumpkin stories.

They wrote pumpkin poems.

Everything was pumpkin.

Pumpkin. Pumpkin. Pumpkin.

"I wish we could just carve jack-o'-lanterns," Emily said to her friend Vinni at recess.

"Yeah," said Vinni. "I can't wait. Mine's going to be a witch."

"Really?" asked Emily. "How will you do that?"

"I'll just draw it and cut it," said Vinni. "But I'm going to add a sparkly hat and earrings."

"Neat!" said Emily. "Maybe I'll make mine a cat."

Vinni jumped off her swing. "Hey! Tomorrow's your birthday party. Guess what I got you?"


Vinni smiled. "A big, ripe pumpkin!"

Emily laughed and chased her inside the school building.

When they got back to class, their teacher Mr. Marvin had twenty-one pumpkins on the front table.

"Now what?" asked Vinni. She hung her coat in her cubby.

"Great," Emily said. "More pumpkins."

"Mr. Marvin!" Vinni called. "Did the pumpkin fairy visit us again?"

Mr. Marvin was not amused. "That's funny, Vincetta Louise. Sit down, everyone. This afternoon we are going to make jack-o'-lanterns."

"Yes!" the class cheered.

"But, we will not carve them."

The room went silent. Emily was confused. She scrunched her nose.

"Mr. Marvin," Vinni said, "you have to carve a jack-o'-lantern!"

"Vincetta Louise," Mr. Marvin said, "you have to raise your hand." He picked up a pumpkin. "Each of you will get one pumpkin. You can use paint, markers, yarn, glue, felt, beads, and buttons to make the pumpkin look" — Mr. Marvin was nodding — "like yourself." He had a huge grin on his face.

Emily had never seen Mr. Marvin smile so big.

He looked just like a jack-o'-lantern.


Pumpkin Portraits

The students pushed their desks together into groups of three. Emily sat with Vinni and Julia. Julia lived near Vinni. They rode the bus together.

"Before I hand out pumpkins," said Mr. Marvin, "I want you to write in your journals. Think of five descriptive words —"

"What's a descriptive word?" Vinni called out.

Mr. Marvin sighed. He looked at Vinni and raised his hand. Vinni slowly raised her hand and waited.

"Write five words to describe yourself," said Mr. Marvin. "Think of those words when you decorate your pumpkin."


Excerpted from No More Pumpkins by Peter Catalanotto, Pamela Schembri. Copyright © 2007 Peter Catalanotto and Pamela Schembri. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

PETER CATALANOTTO is the author/illustrator of many books for children. He lives with his family in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

PAMELA SCHEMBRI is a librarian in Montgomery, New York.

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No More Pumpkins (Second Grade Friends Series) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Were is the next story?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago