In a sequel to their Christmas-themed Pick a Pine Tree, Toht and Jarvis follow a family and their circle of pals as they transform some humble pumpkin-patch residents into the ultimate symbol of Halloween: the jack-o'-lantern. As in the previous book, the rhymes are lively and lilting, even featuring some of the same cues ("But, wait!") that push readers to the next spread. The pacing, leisurely but never slack, savors each stage of the pumpkins' journey to spooky fabulousness, including the a wagon ride and the removal of "Clumpy seeds. Guts and things." Jarvis's bustling, chalk-textured pictures evoke the spirit of homespun fun, while the deep color palette--punctuated by radiant orange, of course ("Its red-hot eyes/ will gaze/ and flicker;/ Its fiery grin/ will blaze and snicker")--feels like a favorite fall flannel. Ages 3-7. (July)Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
PreS-Gr 1-This rhythmically rhyming holiday homage begins at the pumpkin patch with an unnamed family picking pumpkins, "tall and lean/or short and fat./Vivid orange, /ghostly white, /or speckled green/might be just right," then heading home. Before carving can begin, pumpkins must be cleaned, tools gathered, friends invited, and innards removed--"Lumpy chunks. Sticky strings./Clumpy seeds. Guts and things." Now the carving can begin with all its creative choices--"A kiss. A frown./A toothy grin./ A zigzag gap/cut long and thin./A smirk. A snarl./An eerie O./Or pointy fangs, /all in a row." Next comes decorations, then costumes and finally with a light inside, "LOOK! /It's not a pumpkin anymore--It's a...JACK-O'-LANTERN!" Toht's fun-to-read text is generally spot-on, and really captures the spirit of Halloween traditions in a family friendly way. Using pencil, chalk, paint and digital coloring, Jarvis's illustrations have the look and fell of collage. This and their muted fall color palette truly capture the feeling of autumn and the slightly spookiness of Halloween. Excellent depictions of a variety of jack-o'-lanterns, action scenes, and the inclusion of various thematic critters, such as crows, black cat, mice, and spiders. VERDICT While this books focuses on making a jack-o'-lantern from beginning to end, it also covers the Halloween traditions of scary decorations and trick-or-treating. Perfect for storytime and a good addition to your Halloween books.-Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NHCopyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.