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Pumpkins: A Story for a Field Paperback – August 15, 1996

4.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Human industriousness saves the day-and the land-in this ecological cautionary tale. When a man discovers that the beloved field across the way is for sale, he goes to great lengths to protect it from developers. When selling all his possessions fails to yield sufficient cash, the man plants a huge patch of pumpkins in the plot. The bountiful harvest enables him to purchase the field, and to keep it in its natural state. Ray's text puts forth a noble premise and a pleasing ending, but its logic makes a slight misstep when it ventures into the fantastic: the man decides to send the pumpkins-via truck, plane and magic carpet-all over the world for sale, rather than completing the transactions closer to home. The author's underlying sense of urgency effectively demonstrates the importance of conservation, and may even have a motivational effect on readers. Root's watereolor and gouache paintings emit a predominantly orange glow, and the expanse of the scenes clearly renders the field and its crop as the true stars here. The gentle play of light and shadow on the horizon lends a becoming sense of serenity. Even the Great Pumpkin himself would be pleased. All ages.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

MARY LYN RAY has written many acclaimed books for children, including A Violin for Elva, illustrated by Tricia Tusa; New York Times best-seller Stars, illustrated by Marla Frazee; Pumpkins, illustrated by Barry Root; and Red Rubber Boot Day and Mud, both illustrated by Lauren Stringer. She lives in South Danbury, New Hampshire. Visit www.marylynray.com.


BARRY ROOT is the illustrator of more than thirty books for children, including Tiki and Ronde Barber’s Teammates, Game Day, and By My Brother’s Side. He lives in Drumore, Pennsylvania.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Series: Voyager Books
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager Books; 1 edition (August 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 015201358X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152013585
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #860,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Mary Lyn Ray's "Pumpkins: A Story for a field" tells the story of a man's love affair with the open field across from his house. When he sees a "for sale" sign he cries and then decides to take action. After consulting the field, the man decides to grow pumpkins, which he then sends - via boats, planes, trucks and flying carpets - around the world. In Kartoum, Cairo, and Tashkent people buy the round, orange, bumpy pumpkins and then start carving jack-of-lanterns, eating pumpkin ice cream and making pumpkin muffins.
The beautiful illustrations and sweet, funny story captivated, me, my husband's middle school age students, and our 1.5 year old son. Without being preachy or mushy, this book is a wonderful story about land conservation in the real world.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
How have I never seen this book before? This is perhaps one of the sweetest, funniest, and, at the same time, inspirational books for children we now own.

I took the risk of ordering it based solely on the Amazon reviews, and I'm so glad I did.

The combinations of beautiful illustrations with a wonderful story and equally beautiful (and at times humorous writing) is engaging for both my preschooler and myself. This is not a book where I will groan when she asks to read it again.

The story begins with "Once upon a time there was a field..." and while the story certainly has the beauty of a fairytale, it isn't magic that saves the day but hard work, intuition, and creativity.

When the man sees the beautiful field his house overlooks is "for sale" and envisions bulldozers and house and street lights he is so upset, "the man cried."

He sells everything he owns (except for his stove, bed, and bathtub) but he still doesn't have enough money. But, with the fields help, he decides to grow pumpkins.

When the kings and congresses don't understand why the people might need pumpkins, he hand writes instructions for each and every pumpkin in every language on what to use pumpkins for.

With the money earned, he purchases the field and replaces the furniture he sold. But he doesn't replace the paintings because he has the field to look at. And he doesn't replace his watch because he has the sun and stars.

*spoiler*

And this is the ending: "The man might have planted more pumpkins. He had kept one back for seeds. Pumpkins would make him rich.
But he had everything he needed.
So he decided to give the seeds away.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I am lucky enough to be able to see Ms. Ray and thumb through her books at the Concord Farmers Market each weekend. She is a lovely, magical lady and this is a lovely, magical book! I cried when I first read it and it still makes me weepy because it shows such love and hope. (I am a grownup.) It is also very witty and it SOUNDS good out loud, so parents won't get tired of reading it over and over to the children. Everyone should have a chance to read and re-read Pumpkins, any time of year (it's not a Halloween book, really). Several local conservation organizations carry this book because it demonstrates (in a technically unrealistic way, but that really doesn't matter) how one person can make a big difference. I can't imagine anyone not being touched and amused by this book.
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Format: Hardcover
This sweet book captivates younger readers with its wonderful painting illustrations, and the simple story of one man's determination. I love the spare, simple text full of evocative details (when he needs to write explanatory tags for every pumpkin he ships to countries that don't have pumpkins, "luckily he knew how to write in many languages"). This is one of those that I get a lump in my throat reading even after who knows how many times through it.
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Format: School & Library Binding Verified Purchase
Man sells most of what he has to buy a field, grow punkins on it, sell pumpkins to everyone in the world, uses the income to fully pay off field purchase and re-buy some of the stuff he sold. Ends with him watching field out window. Not a book that I love nor is it one that I hate. It just is what it is.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read this book to my class each year. My book is so old, it has yellowed. Now that I'm retired I read it to any class I substitute teach in the fall.
My grandchildren are now old enough to understand the book so I bought this book for them. I want them to enjoy the story and hopefully get the meaning. I know that a lot of it is fantasy, but the meaning is important and the fantasy hooks the listeners.
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