Friday, October 18

Book Look: The Pumpkin Giant by Mary E. Wilkins, Retold by Ellin Greene and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman

I LOVE THE FALL. Seriously. Sweaters, hot chocolate, family holidays...  Since I've been feeling so nostalgic, I thought I'd share a treasured book from my early early childhood.

The Pumpkin Giant is a product of the 70s, as you can see the telltale signs of the limited color palette and the sketchbook-like quality. This was usually done to save money and simplify the printing process, but I love the vintage feel. And let's be frank, the more limited your palette is, the more talented an artist you have to be.

What I find interesting is that the protagonists in this story is that the two kids (a princess and a poor boy) are so fat they can't walk on their legs and they have to roll around to get everywhere. Pretty sure that this book is not PC enough to be publishable today. But when do you see a fat person that is a main protagonist in a book or in the movies that isn't either there to laugh at or laugh with? (Think about the movie Frozen that's coming out; two female protagonists, the exact same body frame. Yes they are sisters, but they are also sticks. Just like every other female that is good in children's movies.)

So revisiting this book as my adult self I found that interesting and a bit refreshing.

Also, I have a thing for monsters. Weird monsters. And this fits the bill. (Child-eating pumpkin-headed monsters? I'll take one please.)  I still love the illustrations in an odd way, but the story is peculiar and does a bit of meandering.

I doubt you'd find it in a library, and I wouldn't say it's the most stellar or inspiring children's book, but I loved it. Interestingly enough my 4 year old found it in our personal children's library and she's now a fan too.

What strange or unusual books were you fond of as a kid?


Lymabeans said...

The Pumpkin Giant is one of my childhood favorites. My husband found a used copy for me many yeas ago and I just spent the last two hours looking for it. I am considering spending more money for another copy as my six year old is the perfect age for this amazing story. Funny, you just posted this! Do you know where I can get a copy under 40 dollars?

Meridth Gimbel said...

Wow. I am so delighted that you loved this book too. Very cool. I did a quick search online and found that amazon is selling 6 used copies for around $40.

Anyway, your post made my day. Have a happy October!

BLeboe said...

I've been looking for this book for a while now. Had forgotten the name and author, but recognized the pictures right away. Thanks for posting it!

Meridth Gimbel said...

Wonderful! I'm so glad you found it. It is a pretty stellar book.