Thursday, October 29, 2009

REVIEW: The Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Cazet, D. (2005). The Perfect Pumpkin Pie. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.


So, my favorite part of this time of year is, quite literally, pumpkin pie. I loves me my pumpkin pie. Mmmmmm. *Wanders into the kitchen to get a piece*

Back and full of pumpkin pie!

Where was I?

In this case the perfect pumpkin pie is not delicious goodness, but rather is a picturebook, set around Halloween, describing how the perfect pumpkin pie was created. And by that I mean, an elderly Mrs. Wilkerson prepares the perfect pie for her mean husband, only to have him die before he can take the first bite. Mrs. Wilkerson then decides to bury her husband's body in the pumpkin patch before moving far away.

Jack and his grandmother, who have moved into the old Wilkerson house in time for the next Halloween, encounter a ghost in the pumpkin patch who won't leave until he gets his perfect pumpkin pie.

Now, in case you couldn't tell from the description, this humorous picturebook is best left for those middle grade readers who won't be hurt by lighthearted portrayals of death and occasionally darker illustrations (for example, the ghost of Mr. Wilkerson takes his eye out of his skull to examine a pumpkin pie closely. And on that note, the story is at moments text heavy and has some fun with fonts that may intimidate younger readers.


Now, a superhero teacher would be able to take a child to a pumpkin patch, have a child help pick one out and then guide said child through all the steps of making pumpkin pie.

I, on the other hand, will take a child by the hand, guide them into the nearest grocery store and let them pick out the best pie from the display case. Then we'll wander on down and find the whipped cream aisle. Good times. That's the way I role.

Students could also have fun dramatizing this story and performing it as a skit. They could have a lot of fun turning the phrases the ghost of Mr. Wilkerson into various styles of songs.

Quotes of Note:

"One Halloween night, wind stirred the leaves in the pumpkin patch outside the old Wilkerson house. Inside the house, Old Man Wilkerson sat, waiting."

"Mmmmm," he said. "I does love a perfect pie."

"That same night, by the light of the Halloween moon, Mrs. Wilkerson buried Mr. Wilkerson in the pumpkin patch."

"Of course, no one ever heard from Mr. Wilkerson again, either. He was, after all, dead. Or was he?"

"He's nothing but cold smoke. He's a ghostly fussbudget with an appetite for a good pie."

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