From the critically acclaimed author and illustrator of A Hungry Lion comes a unique Halloween story about a stemless pumpkin who dreams of becoming a jack-o-lantern.
Stumpkin is the most handsome pumpkin on the block. He’s as orange as a traffic cone! Twice as round as a basketball! He has no bad side! He’s perfect choice for a Halloween jack-o-lantern.
There’s just one problem—Stumpkin has a stump, not a stem. And no one seems to want a stemless jack-o-lantern for their window.
As Halloween night approaches, more and more of his fellow pumpkins leave, but poor Stumpkin remains. Will anyone give Stumpkin his chance to shine?
Stumpkin is a beautiful pumpkin, "as orange as... an orange! As big as a basketball! Round!" All he lacks is a stem but people want stems on their Halloween jack-o'-lanterns. Cummins (A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals) paints Stumpkin looking concerned as, one by one, the other pumpkins are bought, carved, and displayed in apartment windows facing the store. Even the warty gourd gets bought. Stumpkin's philosophical attitude softens the sting (" The gourd??' thought Stumpkin, I guess that's that' "), and the portrayal of buyers as silhouettes helps, too readers don't see the customers' faces or hear what they say. Stories about being left behind usually include just enough distress to set the stage, but here the ordeal continues for many pages, heightening the story's stakes as Halloween looms large. Amid the black-stroked subway signs and storefronts of a cozy Brooklyn block, Stumpkin survives his ordeal, and a final, brilliantly inventive visual sequence reveals what it's like to be a jack-o'-lantern from the inside out. Ages 4 8.