A class of children who are prone to speaking in rhyme visit the pumpkin patch in a story that counts down from 20— and presents multiple counting opportunities on each page. Throughout, Holub rhymes the characters’ lines with their names (“ ‘Eighteen kids get on our bus,’ says Russ.... ‘Look! Fifteen Pumpkin Street,’ reads Pete”). Smith’s brightly colored paintings fill the pages with activity and objects to count: 13 diverse types of pumpkins sit in a row as the children approach the farm, and a corn maze features 10 scarecrows (in addition to the 20 students trying to find their way out). It’s a lively portrait of pumpkin-picking season, whose educational value is boosted by assorted facts about pumpkins that appear on the endpapers. Ages 4–7. (July)
- Marilyn Courtot
The class is going on a trip to the pumpkin patch. There are nineteen students and one teacher, so the book starts the counting at twenty. The class and teacher sit two by two in ten rows and, as they journey, there are items to count. At thirteen they arrive at the pumpkin patch and meet Farmer Mixenmatch. Along the fence is a row of thirteen pumpkins representing as many varieties. There is a petting zoo which provides an opportunity to count the animals. Next, the kids and the reader learn how a pumpkin grows and watch bees make honey. What is a pumpkin patch without a maze and this one has ten scarecrows. Finally it is time to pick pumpkins and in the course of that activity, everyone sees pumpkins of many shapes and colors. The numbers that accompany this trip and countdown are featured in the corner of each page and are printed on the more common orange pumpkin. The endpapers are filled with pumpkin facts. A good selection for any fall or Halloween lesson.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 1—Ms. Blue's first graders are going on a field trip to Farmer Mixenmatch's pumpkin patch, and everyone is very excited. This title provides a new spin on a familiar topic by combining a counting book with rhyme, search and find, math problems, and interesting facts about pumpkins. Children and teachers alike will enjoy the interactive nature of this story. A cross-curricular choice, it conveys simple information on the growth cycle of pumpkins, a bit about bees, and age-appropriate word problems, making it a great choice for math class or a read-aloud. The vibrant illustrations and lively cast of characters will hold youngsters' interest right up to the last page. Perfect for fall counting lessons.—Jasmine Precopio, Fox Chapel Area School District, Pittsburgh, PA
A class visits the pumpkin patch, giving readers a chance to count down from 20. At the farm, Farmer Mixenmatch gives them the tour, which includes a petting zoo, an educational area, a corn maze and a tractor ride to the pumpkin patch. Holub's text cleverly though not always successfully rhymes each child's name within the line: " ‘Eighteen kids get on our bus,' says Russ. / ‘But someone's late,' says Kate. / ‘Wait for me!' calls Kiri." Pumpkins at the tops of pages contain the numerals that match the text, allowing readers to pair them with the orange-colored, spelled-out numbers. Some of the objects proffered to count are a bit of a stretch--"Guess sixteen things we'll see," count 14 cars that arrived at the farm before the bus--but Smith's artwork keeps things easy to count, except for a challenging page that asks readers to search for 17 orange items (answers are at the bottom, upside down). Strangely, Holub includes one page with nothing to count--a sign marks "15 Pumpkin Street." Charming, multicultural round-faced characters and lots of detail encourage readers to go back through the book scouring pages for the 16 things the kids guessed they might see. Endpapers featuring a smattering of pumpkin facts round out the text. Between its autumn and field-trip themes and the fact that not many books start countdowns from 20, this may find its way to many library shelves. (Picture book. 4-7)