Friday, October 25, 2019

PICK A PUMPKIN by Patricia Toht & Jarvis – A perfect introduction to Halloween traditions

Carving pumpkins is one of my favorite fall activities! After I read this, I knew I just had to read it to my kindergarten students.  Another great book for my personal teaching collection.

Summary from Amazon:

Pairing a wonderfully rhythmic read-aloud text with expressive retro illustrations, author Patricia Toht and illustrator Jarvis capture all the excitement and familial feeling of a favorite holiday tradition. Readers will be happy to follow along with each step, from picking out the perfect specimen at the pumpkin patch (be sure to stop for cider and toffee apples) to carting it home, scooping out the insides, carving a scary face, and finally lighting a candle inside — savoring the familiar ritual of transforming an ordinary pumpkin into a one-of-a-kind glowing jack-o’-lantern.

Pick a Pumpkin, written by Patricia Toht and illustrated by Jarvis, was published by Candlewick Press in 2019. 


Pick a pumpkin

from the patch—

tall and lean

or short and fat.

My Thoughts as a Writer:

The process of picking and carving a pumpkin is brought to life here with lovely language and illustrations. Study this one to see how the author carefully chooses words to evoke the feeling of fall. The rhymes and near rhymes work very well. I really enjoyed the gorgeous illustrations – they enhance the story, adding lots of extra detail and creating images of a treasured family experience.

My Thoughts as an Educator:

The length of this story is perfect for reading to kindergarteners and preschoolers! Kids will love examining all the details in the illustrations. This book would be a great introduction to Halloween traditions as well as a book to read afterward to make connections to life experiences. An excellent choice for a library or classroom collection! 

Ages: 4-8

Grades: PreK – 2

Themes: pumpkins, Halloween, family traditions


Discuss: What is your favorite page in the book? Why?

Art: Provide pencil crayons, paints, crayons for students to create their own Halloween scene.

STEAM Challenge: Create a pumpkin face using paper shapes, cutting out the eyes, nose and mouth. Hang it up on a window to see light shine through!

Check out this interesting interview with author Patricia Toht at BookSeedStudio.   


  1. Thanks for the reminder. I've been meaning to check this book out. And now is the time!

  2. This is a beautiful book! Buying pie pumpkins, baking them and bagging my pumpkin for holiday pies, are might favorite.

  3. Love this book. I glanced through it recently and intend to purchase it next time I'm at B&N. Thanks for the great review of it.


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