The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin

The Hallo-Wienerby Dav Pilkey has loads of craft to teach.  It can serve as a great mentor text during this Halloween season.  Themes such as name-calling, bullying, friendship, persistence, loyalty, and kindness are embedded, creating an avenue for class discussion and community building. The illustrations lift the text and provide foreshadowing clues. The book’s humor entices the kids to reread it several times, allowing the message to sink in.  What a fun way to learn!  I highly recommend visiting Dav Pilkey‘s website.  He shares his story of being a hyperactive kid.

Savorings in reading and for writing for The Hallo-Wiener:

  • Flexing sentences – “Because of his unusual shape and size, all the other dogs made fun of him.”
  • Think bubbles – “All day long at obedience school, Oscar daydreamed about Halloween…”
  • Hyphenated words – “Half-a-dog tall and one-and-a-half dogs long
  • Play on words – “Then Oscar showed up, looking quite frank.”
  • Suspense – “The dogs stopped dead in their tracks.”

4 Responses to The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin

  1. Ruth says:

    I loved this book — it’s such a fun read. 🙂 Thanks for sharing it. I’m not familiar with the term: flexing sentences — will you tell me more?

  2. MaryHelen says:

    Flexing sentences is a term that I heard used a few years back. I don’t think it’s an “official” term, but I name skills that make sense to kids. Flexing a sentence to me means that you can rearrange the sentence by placing a clause a the beginning or the end. The exampe that I used could have been written as “All the other dogs made fun of him because of his unusal shape and size.” I beleive that the sentences allow us a chance to discuss with students why the author made the choice to write the sentence the way he did. From my experience with children, I notice that they often will write the sentence that I did above rather than the way that Dav Pilkey wrote it in the book. This focus can be a great mini-lesson for grammar instruction. Thanks for asking. Great question.

  3. Erin says:

    My students loved this book, and would have been happy to hear it more than once, though I didn’t choose to re-read it to them. A fun choice!

  4. MaryHelen says:

    Dav Pilkey has a unique way of pulling kids into reading. I guess since he struggled in school with attention issues, he wants kids to feel success. I personally do enjoy reading the Captian Underpants Series, but Dav’s word choice is incredible. He taps a lot of craft in the writing, wrapped in humor, so the kids don’t usually notice that they are learning something. Since your kids liked Hallo-weiner, they will enjoy another holiday book called ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving. If you get a chance, take a look at Dav Pilkey’s website and read his biography. As a teacher, it has made me think. I’m glad your kids enjoyed the book!

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