Jack-O-Lanterns

Margaret Wise Brown, author of Good Night Moon, brings to life the maturing of an ordinary pumpkin into a beloved jack-o-lantern in her book, The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin. She shares the yearning of this pumpkin character, wishing and wanting to be something fierce to scare the mice away.  Don’t children often yearn to be something more?  Don’t they dream?  This book shares the desire of wanting something now, learning patience, and having to endure some trials along the way all within an autumn setting.

Richard Egielski’s illustrations show the happenings between the lines of the story.  Three children enter in the background of the first page and then later reappear as knights in shining armor to a pumpkin.  Margaret then proceeds to have the children carve the character into a fierce jack-o-lantern.

Savoring for reading and in writing for The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin:

  • Beginning:  With my reading like a writer lenses on, I am not sure of a technical term, but notice with me how Margaret stages this pumpkin’s smallness: using the word “little” almost as a noun with an accenting adjective – “a fat little, round little, yellow little pumpkin in a great big field.”
  • Alliteration sprinkled throughout the story
  • Sensory Delight – “There was a burning smell of leaves in the air and a crisp tingle that tickled the fat little pumpkin’s sides.”
  • Passage of time – from the size of an apple to a fierce fiery orange
  • Wondering – the story makes you ask questions and reread to understand what is being inferred
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