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Pumpkins: A Story for a Field Paperback – August 15, 1996
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Because somewhere, someone might love another field pumpkins could save."
What a powerful message about saving, coming up with creative solutions, caring for the earth, plant cycles, being present in the moment, being grateful, and putting more important things above "becoming rich."
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.