Monday, October 13, 2008

P is for Pumpkin

P is for Pumpkin: God's Harvest Alphabet was written by Kathy-jo Wargin and illustrated by Yawen Ariel Pang. The top of each page gives a short story or explanation, told in rhyming verse. The bottom of each page reiterates the something specific that starts with the featured letter. For example: "Apples and Acorns and all sorts of things -- Let's find the blessings that God's autumn brings. A is for Apple."
The bold illustrations show diverse characters through great contrast and rich colors.
What I Like: The text clearly represents the omnipresence of God. Almost every page talks about what He has provided for us and how He talks with us in every place and situation. It encourages a relationship with Him; I like that. I also appreciate anything that furthers literacy and reading readiness.
What I Dislike: The split text makes it cumbersome to read. I recommend reading just the story at the top or just the letters at the bottom. Otherwise, it feels like a continual self-interruption.
The illustrations are odd; all the characters sport heavy eyebrows and cone-like noses. Every time we turned the page, my children would ask "Mommy, why are those people so cross?" They even found some characters "scary" who weren't meant to be.
Finally, I'm not thrilled with the choice of words featured for each letter. I would have preferred that all references to Halloween be omitted. In this alphabet, D, J and T stand for Dress-up, Jack-o-lanterns and Trick-or-treat. Others will be unfamiliar to many children, especially those who don't live in rural areas. For example, the page on C talks about corn mazes and Q talks about the Quilting Bee. My kids (raised just outside NYC) didn't recognize these; they also didn't understand Harvest, Indian Corn, Orchards or Ravens. If you live in the country, perhaps these are familiar to your children. But if you live in an urban area, you may have a lot to explain.
Overall Rating: Ho-hum.
Age Appeal: 4-7
Publisher Info: ZonderKidz, 2008; ISBN: 0310711800; Hardback; $15.99
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