CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 14. . . . March 14, 2003
Mr. Marshall was as happy as a kid. He invited me to climb up a ladder that was placed against the pumpkin. From the top of the ladder I could go down a stepladder inside the pumpkin. William and his dad climbed up on some scaffolding to watch me.
Inside the pumpkin it was as dark and damp as a whale's belly. But I think the pumpkin probably smelled a lot better. It was like being in an organic submarine. Or like being in a tiny ladybug inside a gigantic piece of fruit.
Fred, who is lying a hospital bed with two broken legs and a broken arm, is telling his grandmother the story of how he came to be in this situation. Fred had been invited to spend Halloween in Whippy Corners with his friend, Jerry Marshall, where Halloween was a huge celebration. There was to be a parade, and the Marshall's 510 kilogram pumpkin would be carved into a carriage for the event. Of course, Fred ended up riding in it, and, when a car alarm spooked the horses, Fred was doomed.
Microsoft Word's 'Readability Test' gives the above excerpt a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score of 5.1. In spite of the sentence fragment (from the excerpt), the reminiscent style of this story lends itself to longer paragraphs and a more fluid read, (even though this title gets the highest grade level rating of them all). The totally unbelievable plot makes for a rambunctious read.
Ruth Scales McMahon, of Lethbridge, AB, is a professional children's librarian, the co-chair of the Rocky Mountain Book Award and the mother of two young children.
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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.