CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Ian Andrews

Toronto, Douglas & Mclntyre, 1990. 32pp, cloth, $13.95
ISBN 0-88899-112-6. (A Groundwood Book). CIP

Grades 1 to 3/Ages 6 to 8
Reviewed by Alison Mews.

Volume 19 Number 1
1991 January

I was delighted to receive in the mail this collaboration by Jan Andrews (Very Last First Time) and Kim LaFave (Amos's Sweater (Douglas & Mclntyre, 1988)), as both have won awards for their picture-books. Despite the attrac­tive design and colourful illustrations, I found Pumpkin Time a disappointment.

The story begins abruptly when three children find their mother has trans­formed overnight into a pumpkin. Without telling any adults, they go about their normal routine (school, after school, father's on weekend) and hope their mother will return to her usual form. By the second Friday their enjoyment of their freedom wears thin and they begin to miss their mother. That night they fall asleep around the pumpkin and wake up next morning beside their mother - with the window open behind them. Her only comment is to grumble about the coldness in the room. The closing line is a lame '"Hi, Mum,' Danya said."

The potentially frightening concept of a mother turning into a vegetable is not framed by an acceptable explana­tion, nor is there any magical interven­tion to facilitate the transformation other than some puzzling reference to the open window. Indeed, there seems to be no reason at all for what happened.

The lovely illustrations add a whimsical touch to the story. Kim LaFave's cosy scenes of comfortable clutter mirror the children's acceptance of the situation and help to alleviate any anxiety a small reader might experience. Altogether, though, the story is too pointless a fantasy to be saved by the artist's brush.

Alison Mews, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Nfld.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works