Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Rotten Pumpkin

Author: David M. Schwartz
Photographer: Dwight Kuhn
Publisher: Creston Books (July 23, 2013)
Source: Copy for Review
Audience: 2nd to 4th graders
Keywords: Food Chains * Mold * Nonfiction

Description from GoodReads:
Compost won't mean the same thing after readers have seen the amazing transformation of Jack from grinning pumpkin to mold-mottled wreckage to hopeful green shoot. The story of decomposition is vividly told so that science comes to life (and death). Part story, part science, and a whole lot of fun. Features a teacher guide in the back of the book, and additional material (including instructions on how to put on a Rotten Pumpkin play in your school) are on the Creston and Author websites.

My thoughts on this book:
This book is gross.  Seriously, I don't mean that in a bad way, but how else do you describe a book that is basically filled with images of various kinds of molds and insects?  Schwartz and Kuhn give readers a whole new insight into the concept of decomposition in ROTTEN PUMPKIN.

When someone creates the beautiful carved pumpkin for Halloween, the process for decomposition has been triggered.  However, most of us do not keep our Jack-o'-lanterns around until they have completely broken down and resulted in compost for next year's crop of pumpkins.  Dwight Kuhn's photographs are vivid and very descriptive on their own, but David M. Schwartz's simple but clear text helps readers understand the various stages of decomposition that a carved pumpkin goes through.  In addition to understanding the decomposition process, readers learn about the various rodents and insects that further facilitate the process.

In some ways, I have to say that this book is not for the faint of heart.  However, I suspect there will be a number of children who will pick this one up out of curiosity or to make someone else say "ewwww".  If you are looking for something with a more science related focus to use around Halloween, you might want to take a look at Rotten Pumpkin. The end of the book also contains key vocabulary and classroom investigation ideas.

If this book isn't available at your local bookstore or public library, I would suggest requesting that they carry it.  For more information about the book, read about David M. Schwartz's creative process for ROTTEN PUMPKIN.

Also available - Teacher Resources from Creston Books:
Curriculum GuideActivities | Rotten Pumpkin Play

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