Kitchen Table Reviews: The Bumpy Little Pumpkin
It's not Halloween yet, but this book has gotten the family in the mood for Fall.
The Bumpy Little Pumpkin by Margery Cuyler
Halloween’s coming up, and although I love a good book about monsters and goblins as much as the next mom, I found myself enchanted with the cover image of a little girl kneeling over a misshapen pumpkin. I had to find out how the story went… and if it would appeal to the kids or just strike them as sappy.
Me: Happy Halloween!
Son: It’s not Halloween yet.
Me: I know. I was just hoping this would get us in the mood. Did it?
Son: Sort of, I guess.
Daughter: This book is good for all of Fall, I think. Not just Halloween.
Me: So who can give me a summary of what happens?
Son: Little Nell is really little and her sisters and mom are really big. And they go to pick the perfect pumpkins, and her tall sister chooses a tall pumpkin and her fat sister chooses a big round pumpkin, and Little Nell wants a bumpy little pumpkin and they make fun of her. But it works out in the end.
Me: Wait, does that mean Little Nell is bumpy?
Son: Just small, I think.
Daughter: Well, her sweater is kind of bumpy.
Me: I liked the illustrations, but I couldn’t tell if Little Nell just saw her family as being so big or if she was supposed to be a little person. She’s kind of miniature compared to the rest of them.
Daughter: I think we’re seeing how she views them. Which is kind of cool. Also, I like the wild and crazy hair everyone has! That was funny.
Son: There is a lot of crazy hair.
Me: Okay, what was your favorite part?
Daughter: I liked how the birds came and helped her carve the face in her pumpkin.
Son: I liked how the reindeer scooped the pumpkin out for her.
Me: So it wasn’t weird that a bunch of animals came and helped her?
Daughter: No, she was kind of fairy-tale-magical, a little bit. It made sense.
Me: I liked how the message was that all different shapes and sizes are beautiful, but it was still a nice little Halloween story, not just a hit-you-over-the-head-with-a-moral kind of a thing.
Son: Yeah, but, for Halloween it should be at least a little scary! And the jack-o-lanterns they make aren’t scary at all. That would be the only thing I didn’t like.
Daughter: Also, is it okay that they just leave her in the pumpkin patch by herself? That seems like child services would get called, or something.
Me: Okay! Well! I thought this was a sweet little book.
Son: Me too!
Daughter: Okay, fine.
Pros: Halloween-ish, but a great message of inclusion/acceptance for any time of year. Little Nell seems vaguely magical. Helpful woodland friends are always fun.
Cons: Little Nell’s family just leaves her in the pumpkin patch. Bad hair days. The jack-o-lanterns at the end of the book aren’t very scary.
The Bumpy Little Pumpkin gets three thumbs up and a recommendation to be enjoyed with hot cider from our kitchen table.