Though they have little to do with the science behind the planet’s changing seasons, the new titles in the Picture the Seasons series do a fabulous job of conjuring up the sights, smells, and sensations of a brisk autumn. Using minimal text with National Geographic’s typically fine photographs, Esbaum brings out familiar, comforting details of the outdoors—and slips in a lesson or two so skillfully readers won’t even mind. Perfect for Halloween, Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie, is a veritable festival of orange featuring the expected (but still satisfying) panoramas of pumpkin fields and market stands. More surprising are the shots of the rarely appreciated pumpkin flower, pumpkins so big people make boats out of them, and a narrative twist: “The End. Unless . . . was there something else pumpkins might be used for?” The leering jack-’o-lanterns on the next page provide a scary jolt. Fun, cozy, evocative stuff. Grades K-2. --Daniel Kraus
About the Author
Jill Esbaum is the award-winning author of several books for young readers. She lives on a farm near Dixon, Iowa, with her husband and family. She loves visiting school, as well as teaching adults how to write for children in numerous classes and workshops.