This versatile and sincere story will teach math and science concepts while modeling kind behavior. When Mr. Tiffin brings three pumpkins into class for a math and science lesson, all the children guess how many seeds are inside. Charlie, the smallest kid in class, feels frustrated: "All the best guesses are taken." Then the class opens the pumpkins and counts the seeds. McNamara introduces the concepts of counting by twos, fives, and tens, and she includes pumpkin facts (the more lines on the pumpkin, the more seeds it will have). Charlie ends up with the correct guess and discovers that "small things can have a lot going on inside them." Karas' simple, effective illustrations, in the autumnal colors of a fall landscape, capture the multicultural students' feelings, especially Charlie's quiet confusion and eventual flush of pride and confidence. Carton, Debbie
Review, San Francisco Chronicle (circ: 329,989), September 30, 2007:
"There's quite a lot to learn about pumpkins in this book, which even a math-phobe can love, plus there's kids working together and having their minds opened once their assumptions are trounced. Karas' stylized illustrations capture the fun of an engaging, hands-on classroom project."