Circle Time

Circle Time Book Reviews
The Pumpkin Patch

The Pumpkin Patch Parable - Too Many Pumpkins

Candy. Costumes. Parties. More candy. What kid wouldn't want to celebrate Halloween? Many parents, on the other hand, concerned by the darker aspects of the holiday, would rather ignore it. If you're a parent wanting to celebrate harvest time without worrying about things that go bump in the night, here are two wonderful books you can share with your family.
Kathy Bennett

The Pumpkin Patch Parable
written by Liz Curtis Higgs
illustrated by Nancy Munger
recommended age level - preschool, 4-8, just about anyone!
Circle Time rating 5
ISBN: 0785277226 (hard cover)

This is the perfect book for bringing a Christian perspective to the celebration of Halloween! Liz Curtis Higgs tells the story of the Farmer, who plants a garden bearing all kinds of vegetables. His favorite vegetable is the pumpkin, which grows in all different sizes and shapes. When it's harvest time, the Farmer carefully picks the pumpkin, scoops out the slimy pulp, carves a face, and places a light inside.

The story ends by telling how God is the Farmer, and we are just like those pumpkins, chosen by Him, made clean and given His light. For older readers, this similarity is reinforced by appropriate Bible verses on the bottom of each page.

I use this book every year just before Halloween in my third grade Sunday School class. My students are just learning to use their Bibles, so I start by having the kids look up some of the verses before we read the story. Those verses that seemed dry and dusty before the story come alive when we read about the Farmer. I also share this book with my own, younger kids, just before we carve jack-o'-lanterns. We remember the parable and its meaning every time we see one of those grinning pumpkins

Price and Ordering Info from (hardcover)

This review is copyright © 1998 Kathy Bennett <>

Too Many Pumpkins
written by Linda White
illustrated by Megan Lloyd
original copyright
recommended age level - 4-8
Circle Time rating 4
ISBN: 0823413209 - paperback
ISBN: 0823412458 - library binding

Imagine growing up on a farm during the Great Depression. Imagine having nothing to eat but the food your grew in your garden. Imagine a month when the only thing growing in your garden was pumpkins. "Baked pumpkins, steamed pumpkins, boiled pumpkins. Stewed pumpkins, mashed pumpkins, rotten pumpkins! Breakfast pumpkins, lunch pumpkins, dinner pumpkins. Enough pumpkins!" You'd probably be cured of ever wanting to even think about pumpkins again.

Well, that's what happened to Rebecca Estelle. And she managed to reach old age without ever even having to look at another one until one day when an enormous pumpkin rolled off a farmer's truck and splattered all over her front yard. She didn't want to touch it, so she buried it. But the next spring, her yard was filled with tiny little pumpkin sprouts! She hacked the vines, but they grew back. So she ignored them, until there were too many pumpkins to ignore.

When life gives you pumpkins, thought Rebecca Estelle, make pumpkin pie. And pumpkin bread, and pumpkin tarts, and pumpkin pudding... After all, "[s]ome people might need these pumpkins, and I suppose there are folks crazy enough to like them," she told her cat, Esmeralda.

Rather than deliver the pumpkin goodies herself, she carved a few dozen jack-o'-lanterns to guide her friends and neighbors to her house, where they found plenty of pumpkin pie and cider. When the night was over, she sent each family home with an armload of treats.

My two oldest kids, age five and seven, love this story of how things that we think are curses can turn out to be blessings. By the end of the story, when Rebecca Estelle has sent the last neighbor home with the last pumpkin treat, my kids are not surprised that she would save a few of those dreaded pumpkin seeds to plant in the spring. They think she's planning another celebration for next October.

Price and Ordering Info from (paperback) (library)

This review is copyright © 1998 Kathy Bennett <>

For reviews of several wonderful children's books about the true meaning of Easter, see Beyond Bunnies in our April issue.

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