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Me and the Pumpkin Queen Hardcover – July 3, 2007


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books (July 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061140228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061140228
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,484,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Mildred misses her mother. She died when the 11-year-old was only six. But one thing Mildred remembers about her mother is how she loved Circleville, Ohio's pumpkin festival. So Mildred takes up growing pumpkins, big ones—make that huge ones—all in hopes of winning the pumpkin show weigh-off. "I don't think I'm abnormally obsessive," Mildred says as the book opens, but frankly, anyone reading her story might beg to differ. Told in a first-person narrative, this novel offers a step-by-step, detailed explanation of how to grow giant pumpkins. Fortunately, there is more: Mildred's prickly relationship with her aunt; her satisfying bond with her veterinarian father (a rather graphic description of a calve's birthing is included); and a little about her friendship with other kids. But, mostly, this is about growing pumpkins. Interestingly, even readers with no particular interest in the topic are likely to be drawn in by Kennedy's straightforward narrative, as solid and unadorned as a pumpkin, yet lovely in its own way. Cooper, Ilene

About the Author

Marlane Kennedy moved to Circleville, Ohio, at age eleven. She participated in many Pumpkin Show parades as a child, but never tried growing her own giant pumpkin. But after writing Me and the Pumpkin Queen, she planted her own Howard Dill's Atlantic Giant seed and grew a 250-pounder, pictured above, that took fifth prize in her local fair. Marlane Kennedy is also the author of The Dog Days of Charlotte Hayes. She lives in Wooster, Ohio, with her husband and three children.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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It really ended up being a cute book!
Bluerose's Heart
I'm a future educator and was assigned this book to read for one of my classes.
Amazon Customer
Would recommend to readers of any age.
Maggie's Mom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The Letter Lady on July 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I am a former 1st, 4th and 5th grade teacher. I now teach graduate level courses to future teachers preparing to teach elementary school. Me and the Pumpkin Queen is delightful from start to finish and I wish that I had it when I taught 4th and 5th grade years ago. I believe my advanced readers as well as my reluctant readers would have enjoyed it. It is written in a straightforward way without being "flowery" or overly simplistic. The voice of the main charater is clear and genuine.

The main character, Mildred, is a determined and well grounded 5th grade girl who wants to grow a giant pumpkin. The book contains elements of growing up and a platonic friendship between Mildred and her best freind, Jacob. Both of these issues are written about in a tasteful and realistic way. Mildred's father is a veterinarian and she discusses his work and the animals they encounter. I think that this element, among others, will make this book appealing to both boys and girls. Mildred also reflects upon the loss of her mother when she was only six and she deals with her grief through the pumpkin growing process. This is a strong theme in the book that is beautifully and subtle handled. Mildred also has an aunt who has other ideas for her than growing giant pumpkins. All of these themes are written about gracefully and age appropriately, which is very refreshing.

I was deeply satisfied with the ending (I won't give it away!) and will recommend this book to my future students and also to my friends who have children that are the age of Mildred. I look forward to reading future books by this author.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By RJ McGill on July 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I recommend this book to all children of the age specified and/or parents, teachers, after school directors, baby-sitters - well you get the idea... Anyone who spends time with children, this is a wonderful read, meant to be shared and savoured.

To honor her Mom, eleven year old Mildred is determined to win the Circleville, Ohio, Pumpkin Show and fulfill a dream left undone by her mother's untimely death. However, with each passing season something goes inherently wrong and her dreams are dashed again and again. Aunt Arlene is more than a bit concerned about Mildred's apparent obsession with pumpkins and tries, in her overtly pushy way, to persuade her niece to pursue more feminine interests, such as make up and fancy clothing. Thankfully, Mildred's dad doesn't agree with Auntie Arlene and continues to support his daughter and her individual dreams. Knowing and understanding his only daughter in ways that only a father can, he is able to challenge Mildred to take her future into her own hands and follow her heart with unbridled passion. Thus allowing herself to grow into the incredible young woman her mother always knew she would one day become.

Kennedy's attention to detail proves this to be a well researched novel that introduces readers to the relatively unknown competitions that require much more than good seeds and luck to produce a thousand pound champion. Well crafted and heartwarming, the characters could easily be members of your own family or next door neighbors. The narrative reads like a family tale told over a huge dinner, with lots of laughs, a few tears and the busy body aunt that always means well but just can't quite find the right way to express herself without appearing... well, pushy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mark Baker HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Mildred may only be eleven years old, but she has an obsession. Unlike most girls her age, it isn't clothes or boys. It's giant pumpkins.

Now this isn't as strange as it sounds. Mildred lives in Circleville, Ohio, and has spent every October enjoying the annual pumpkin festival. The display of giant pumpkins always fascinated her mother, and her mother always planned to try to grow one herself some day.

The year Mildred's mother died, Mildred decided to grow a giant pumpkin herself. Over the last five years, she has learned everything she can. And over the last five years, something has happened every year to ruin her chances. Will this be the year that Mildred is able to submit a pumpkin of her own for the contest?

This is a wonderful book. All the characters are wonderful and real. Even the aunt who thinks that Mildred needs to give up her pumpkin growing is realistic and well drawn. And the obstacles that Mildred faces along the way are realistic. I had no interest in growing pumpkins of any kind, but I got so caught up in Mildred's quest that I felt every joy and set back right along with her.

Since this is a coming of age book, there are a couple scenes that might make boys uncomfortable involving Mildred getting her first bras. For this man, they were worth noting only in passing.

This is an entertaining and emotional book that will satisfy anyone who reads it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on December 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Mildred dreams big dreams in the shape of a pumpkin. This may seem strange to some people, and it especially does to her Aunt Arlene, who's convinced Mildred should start acting and dressing like girls her own age. It's not normal, according to Aunt Arlene, for 11-year-old girls to spend every single summer cultivating a tiny seed and trying to grow it into a giant pumpkin. Even if it is to win the Circleville Pumpkin Show's giant pumpkin contest.

But to Mildred, it makes perfect sense for her to try to make her mother's wish come true. The former Pumpkin Show Queen died when Mildred was only six, but Mildred still remembers how much she loved those huge pumpkins, and that she'd mentioned a desire to take home the prize for the largest pumpkin.

So, with the help of her veterinarian father and her best friend, Jacob, Mildred once again sets out on her pumpkin growing adventure, with her eye on the prize.

Librarians across the country are already selecting this book as a top choice for young students, and I can see why. The narrative voice is strong, and Mildred's control over her own world is enviable. Some challenges on her road to success bring the story home and have the reader rooting for the little girl with the big dreams.

Look for this genuinely sweet read on the shelves!

Reviewed by: Julie M. Prince
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