How to Help a Pumpkin Grow, written and illustrated by Ashley Wolff

How to Help a Pumpkin Grow – written and illustrated by Ashley Wolff. Beach Lane Books, 2021. 9781481419345

Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format:  Hardcover

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book?   Short, rhyming text, a fun refrain and a cumulative story line make this an excellent addition to Halloween titles.  A black and white border collie, wearing a red bandanna and yellow boots, decides to plant pumpkins: “Dig it. Spade it. Seeds to grow. Keep seeds warm. Protect from snow. I want to help a pumpkin grow.”  Soon, one by one, other animals appear and want to help, in a total reverse of the classic The Little Red Hen.  Readers will join in the refrain, “Do you want to help a pumpkin grow?” as a crow, rabbit, duck, and goat arrive to help.   Sharp-eyed readers will notice there is also a little mouse joining in.  The pumpkins are harvested and after making and enjoying pumpkin pies, the animals: “Scoop them. Scrape them. Carve just so.  Place them so the candles show.  Now we’re made our pumpkins…. GLOW!”  The illustrations, rendered in acrylic gouache on watercolor paper, fill each double page spread making this a perfect choice for story time.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  Add this to your Halloween story time list.  Pair it with Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman and The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll.   

Who should buy this book?  Elementary and public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review:  August 6, 2021         

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