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Pumpkins: A Story for a Field by Mary Lyn…

Pumpkins: A Story for a Field

by Mary Lyn Ray

Other authors: Barry Root (Illustrator)

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Showing 5 of 5
A fantasy, not at all educational. It sure would be nice if it were that easy to save land from developers. But then we know from the start it's a sweet and silly fable because hills are eroded mountains, they do *not* grow up" to be mountains. I want to give it three stars because it's pretty and has a nice idea, but I just can't suspend disbelief about anything in it." ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Barry Root did a great job with the illustrations. This was a very nice, minimalistic story of a man who grew pumpkins and spread them over the world all so he could afford to appreciate a field behind his home. The numbers in this book seemed over the top, but the book was great all the same. ( )
  matthewbloome | May 19, 2013 |
When the field across from his modest rural home is put up for sale, the elderly hero of Mary Lyn Ray's Pumpkins does everything he can to raise the money to buy it, convinced that otherwise it will be snapped up by a developer, and turned into a housing complex. Unable to come up with the required amount, even after selling most of his possessions, the man hatches a sure-fire scheme: he will grow a bumper crop of pumpkins on the field, and use the profit from the sale of the crop to buy the land.

Chosen as one of our October selections in The Picture-Book Club to which I belong, where our theme this month is "Harvest-Time and Pumpkins," this is a story that I expected to like far more than I did. Leaving aside the problematic nature of the man's use of the field, when he hasn't yet purchased it - I realize that this is a gray area, but I'm far more sympathetic to the violation of property rights if it springs from a genuine and immediate need, such as hunger, rather than from a desire (for reasons noble or ignoble) to buy property - I found myself a little uncomfortable with some of the cultural assumptions in this book. While it's certainly true that jack-o-lanterns are more common here in the states than in some parts of the world, the author's assumption that people elsewhere wouldn't know what pumpkins were seemed... a little odd to me. Don't tell my favorite Thai restaurant, where they make a pumpkin custard to die for!

Of course, I realize that many of the story elements here are meant to be fantastical, rather than realistic, but somehow the end product just didn't work for me - and this despite my sympathy for the cause of fighting encroaching urban sprawl on rural lands, and my fondness for all things autumnal. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 14, 2013 |
When an old man realises that a lovely country meadow across from his residence is for sale and likely to be bought by urban developers, the man (who loves this very field, but does not have the financial means to purchase it) decides to raise money by seeding the meadow with pumpkins, by growing pumpkins in the field. Will his endeavour be successful? Will he be able to grow enough pumpkins, and then sell enough to save his field, to purchase his meadow so it can be safeguarded from the threat of urbanisation?

While I appreciate the ecological message of [b:Pumpkins: A Story for a Field|2108984|Pumpkins A Story for a Field|Mary Lyn Ray|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1349808343s/2108984.jpg|3017357] and at least somewhat enjoyed the storyline, I also think that many of the more fantastical elements introduced during the final segment of the narrative (the magic carpets, that the old man phones every kingdom, every congress, every nation about selling, shipping his harvested pumpkins) rather take away from both the general story as well as the message of sustainability, keeping meadows natural, using nature and natural means to thwart urban sprawl (I certainly enjoyed the beginning of the book much more than the end, the fantastical elements seem a trifle tacked on, almost like a deus ex machina, so that the old man could get his pumpkins shipped and sold worldwide). I guess one could perhaps also postulate that the entire narrative is, in fact, a bit surreal (seeding a field with pumpkins and then actually growing and harvesting hundreds of thousands of them is also rather fanciful and unrealistic). For me personally, though, while the first section of Pumpkins: A Story for a Field at least seems somewhat probable and potentially realistic, much of the final segment seems both highly improbable and strange (especially the magic carpets, which really do not fit into the story all that well, which really have no reason for even appearing in the text).

My GR friend Abigail pointed out in her own excellent review that some of the cultural assumptions made by the author are also somewhat problematic (like the presumption that those individuals not living in North America would by necessity not be familiar with pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns). Having reread the book, I realise that this is, unfortunately, rather true. However, I also have to admit that I did not really notice this so much the first time I read the story (and that is perhaps because when we immigrated from Germany to Canada in 1976, I actually did not know what a pumpkin was, so this part of Pumpkins: A Story for a Field did not feel all that strange and improbable to me at first).

Barry Root's illustrations are quite lovely (they are bright, descriptive and provide a successful mirror of and compliment to Mary Lyn Ray's text). The only minor issue I have is with the fact that so many of the illustrations depict trucks, planes, ships and the like, which again kind of lessens the ecological message of Pumpkins: A Story for a Field (I would definitely have appreciated more illustrations of pumpkins and less depictions of modern technology). ( )
  gundulabaehre | Mar 31, 2013 |
This book is about a farmer who loves his land and he will tr anything to save it.
Age 3-5
  krystinarudnick | Mar 13, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Lyn Rayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Root, BarryIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 015201358X, Paperback)

This is a story about a field and a man who loved it enough to do something to save it from development. “Based on the author’s personal efforts to protect the land, this story broadcasts a deliberate and timely environmental message that, like the intentionally nameless protagonist, anyone can make a difference. Aglow in harvest tones, Root’s strong watercolor and gouache paintings heighten the story’s magic.”--Booklist

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:34 -0400)

A man harvests and sells a bountiful crop of pumpkins so that he will be able to preserve the field from developers.

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