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Children's LiteraturePoor Milton and Chloe Nasselrogt. They think their parents are dead, and they have only just managed to escape from the Urchin House Orphanage (a front for a zipper factory, staffed by orphans who spend long hours "gluing zipper teeth one by one onto strips of plasticky fabric"). But hot on their heels is its evil director, the big-nostriled Yon Kinsky Kozinsky Porifera. Milton and Chloe stumble upon the house of a candy maker who has gone strangely missing, and eventually discover there is something even more sinister after them than Mr. Porifera—the rustling pumpkin patch right outside their front door. And, gads, it is growing (the simple line illustrations at the bottom of the pages capture this beautifully). Of course, they do not know the patch is to be feared until it develops a yearning for eight-year-old Chloe, kidnaps her, and hides her deep underground. Can Milton save Chloe in time? Will Porifera turn out to be more friend than foe? And could it be that Mr. and Mrs. Nasselrogt are very much alive and pining for the safe return of their missing children? Kudos to Petty: his raucous read has everything middle grade readers yearn for—fanciful scenarios, funny-sounding words, suspense, and kids fixing their own screw-ups. 2006, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Ages 9 to 14.