CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 3. . . .September 18, 2009
The precocious six-year old narrator of the story is going to have a new baby in her family! When she was three-years-old, her Aunt May talked about a “pumpkin baby” while they were picking pumpkins on her farm. When she was four-years-old, Mr. Jess talked about a “cabbage baby” while they were picking cabbages. And when she was five-years-old, a big stork flew overhead, and Mr. Thompson, the mailman, talked about a stork baby. Now that she is six-years-old, she “knows much much better” and finds that her baby brother is a bit of all three – pumpkin, cabbage and stork – but she loves him “from the very moment he was born.”
Both Jane Yolen, the author of this picture book, and Susan Mitchell, the illustrator, want to engage very young readers in thinking about family relationships. By exploring the stereotypes about where babies come from – pumpkin patches, cabbage patches and storks – Yolen deals with the fears of an older sister. What will the strange newcomer to her family look like? Will it be orange on the outside, too heavy to pick up and too round to play with her – like a pumpkin? Will it be green and stand in long rows – like a cabbage? Or will it fly like a stork? The possibilities are endless – but the reality of the new baby is a beautiful and loving surprise.
The text of this picture book is very well suited for young readers. The vocabulary is simple and easy to understand. The repetition of sentence constructions will help young readers to follow the story more easily. This picture book also has great potential as a read-aloud. The beautifully written descriptions will intrigue young readers. In a classroom setting, Pumpkin Baby could also be a great tool for shared reading. The use of quotations provides a great teaching moment for features of text. Children could also discuss what they have learned about family life from the young heroine’s experiences with the “Pumpkin Baby?”
Myra Junyk is the former Program Co-ordinator of Language Arts and Library Services at the Toronto Catholic District School Board. Currently, she is working as a literacy advocate and author.
on this title or this review, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal
use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any
other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.