From Print to Pumpkin

Alison Morris - October 27, 2008

Last week when I was with Laurie Keller at Tenacre Country Day School in Wellesley, I had the pleasure of seeing some of the creative projects that wonderful school librarian Esther Frazee has recently had students working on. I’ll post photos of one of them today, in honor of Halloween, and the other next week, in honor of (I get nervous just thinking about it) the upcoming election. 

Esther asked each fourth grader to decorate a sugar pumpkin to represent their favorite character from their summer reading. Students were encouraged to use old toys, clothes, etc. for their decorations, and the results (currently on display in the school’s library) are so impressive! Sadly I don’t have photos of all of the pumpkins to share, but I did capture a few highlights. Click on any photo to view it larger.

Start by clicking on the top right photo. Here we have Tim’s salute to Tyson the Cyclops from Rick Riordan’s The Sea of Monsters. I think it captures Tyson’s personality perfectly!

Here’s another appealing fellow — Meghan’s rendition of Edward Tulane from The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.

I personally would never have looked at a pumpkin’s rotund form and thought "dragon!" but that shows how shortsighted I am compared to Nick, who turned his pumpkin into Saphira, the non-human star of Christopher Paolini’s Eragon.

Tim’s character choice may not have been original, but his decision to give Harry Potter a sort of "pumpkin stem wizard hat" certainly is! True, this is no elaborately carved Harry Potter pumpkin, but I think it looks friendlier than that fancy one anyway.

Sandra and Oakes both chose to capture the likeness of Mmutla from The Great Tug of War by Beverly Naidoo. I have never read this book, but seeing these smiling hares makes me want to.


I’m not sure which of the four Penderwicks girls this is supposed to be, but judging from the blonde hair I’m thinking Skye. Judging from the dress I’m thinking… Rosalind? Really, though, with that warm smile she could pass for any of them.

Like the Penderwicks pumpkin, this Pinocchio likeness features a pumpkin turned on its side, with the stem being used as the nose. And what better book to use for a long-stemmed pumpkin than this one?? Clever, clever, clever.

Somehow the slouching posture of this Skulduggery Pleasant seems well-matched to the skeleton’s confident swagger. (Note that he’s wearing sunglasses but they’ve slipped down below his cravat.)

I love angular eyebrows and circular jaw joints of Drew’s Tin Woodman from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

And who wouldn’t love this blueberry-shaped Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

Last but not least is the pumpkin that wins the award for "most creative use of materials." The student who made this sculpture of Fone Bone used cotton balls to give him that distinctive Bone family nose. (I will say this could greatly impair Fone’s sense of smell…)

Here’s hoping these pumpkins give you some book-related inspiration for your own jack-o’-lantern carvings this week.

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