Prather's Pick: Writer on a roll with pumpkin tale


A great big pumpkin, like the one in this week's picture book, would certainly win a Grand Champion ribbon at the Moffat County Fair -- if the exhibitor could get it through the pavilion doors, that is.

"The Runaway Pumpkin," is written by Kevin Lewis, illustrated by S. D, Schindler and is published by Orchard Books, An Imprint of Scholastic, 2003.

The story is done in verse, with some rhyming words.

It's Halloween (I'm a little ahead season-wise so remember this book when October rolls around). Buck and Billy Baxter and their little sister, Lil, are dressed in costume this chilly October evening. They wander up a steep hill that overlooks their farm. At the very top is a flat place and that's where they find a bunch of pumpkins, lying among frosted vines.

Most of the pumpkins are normal size, but one of them is absolutely enormous. The boys "whoop, yell, and holler" because they've never seen a better pumpkin. Lil, however, is a little cautious. She tries to warn the boys, but it's Halloween so they break the pumpkin at its stem.

Keep in mind that the pumpkin is much, much bigger than all the children together so when the boys give it a shove, the pumpkin starts to roll. It picks up speed and then gains momentum. The huge pumpkin thumps and bumps as it heads for the farm.

Momma Baxter is feeding the pigs when the runaway pumpkin comes crashing through the pig sty. Boy, do pigs run in every direction, but Momma thinks about Granny Baxter's pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

The pumpkin breaks clear through the pen and keeps on rolling. Poor Momma ends up with a bucket of scraps on her head and a pig in her lap.

Thumpety, bumpety, the runaway pumpkin spooks a cow, a goat, a chipmunk and some rabbits before it breaks through the fence at the chicken coop. That's where Grandpa Baxter is feeding the chickens. Grandpa thinks about Granny's pumpkin soup. The chickens just look curious at first, but as the pumpkin continues to roll, they run for their lives.

One chicken is just plain run over. Grandpa is knocked for a loop. The pumpkin heads for a field where Poppa Baxter is plowing.

When Poppa sees the pumpkin he thinks about Granny's pumpkin bread, but he's a sharp cookie. Poppa quickly drives the tractor around in a circle and makes a depression in the soil.

The cow, chickens, pigs, and family members stare at the pumpkin.

Lil runs to get Granny, and then the family uses a board, a pitchfork, and Granny's cane to pry the house door open as far as possible. And ... you'll have to read the book to find out what happens next.

This book in hardback is $15.99.

Enjoy the pumpkins and everything else at the Moffat County Fair!

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