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The Vanishing Pumpkin
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The Vanishing Pumpkin

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  297 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
A classic Halloween story about a pumpkin gone missing is certain to delight readers of all ages!

When a 700-year-old woman and an 800-year-old man want to make pumpkin pie on Halloween, they can't find their pumpkin. "Our pumpkin's been snitched," cries the woman. And off they go to find it.

"A good bet for Halloween story hours."--School Library Journal

"There can never be
Paperback, 32 pages
Published August 22nd 1996 by Puffin Books (first published 1983)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Nov 05, 2016 Miriam rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture, holidays
Well, that was strange.

That's not a criticism, just an observation. This book dates to the last gasp of the trippy picture books I grew up with, although it's not quite like them, either. For one thing, it has the tone more of a garbled folktale than an hallucination.

A seven-hundred-year-old woman and an eight-hundred-year-old man realize it is Halloween and are excited about the excuse to bake a pumpkin pie (because apparently that is what ancient witches do for Halloween, contrary to the feve
Mar 10, 2009 Peggy rated it it was amazing
I love to read this one to my kids and they love it too! Not only do I get to say fun words like rapscallion and varmint, there are funny, unexpected twists - like when the old woman and the old man took off down the road as fast as a 700-year-old woman and the 800-year-old man could. In fact they fairly flew! Highly recommended for ages 3-9!
Mar 04, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I love every single thing about this book. It's a classic for dePaola--before he was famous and I am enamored of the colors and compositions and I also love the story. And the phrasings. It's funny and it's about the best creatures of Halloween. And the cloth binding under the dust jacket is lavender.


Sarah Montambo Powell

Kelsey Yates
Oct 13, 2014 Kelsey Yates rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
One of my very favorite books. The kids know it is an October tradition to read this book before bed. My husband does the best voices. We quote it regularly: "Leaping Lizards!" "A great big fat one?" "Snitched!"
Ashlee Draper Galyean
Somehow I hope my marriage ends up like this. I'm not sure exactly what that means but I think I'll know when we get there.
Oct 16, 2007 Eliza rated it it was amazing
I likedhow the auther kept adding on the charicters.

It was great...
Jennifer Velez
This is a great Halloween book. This book is about a 700 year old woman and a 800 year old man who lost a pumpkin. They went around searching for their pumpkin around their house. They didn't find it so they go out and ask different people they encounter if they have seen a pumpkin. No one has seen the pumpkin, until they find the Wizard, he had the pumpkin. He had a made a Jack-O-lantern out of it and also made a Pumpkin pie, and they all ate the pie. I think I could use this book in the classr ...more
Oct 18, 2015 Dolly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a very strange tale about an incredibly old couple of witches. The illustrations are classic Tomie dePaola, but the story doesn't really have the same charm as we expected. Still, it's a humorous Halloween tale that isn't scary.

The story has a lot of repetition which will appeal to younger children and I loved the use of interesting words, like "rapscallion" and "varmint". The dialogue is silly, but fun to read aloud. We enjoyed reading it together.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This had the feel of a folktale, but there was no note in the book indicating that it was based on one. It's an odd story about a 700-year-old woman and an 800-year-old man looking for their stolen pumpkin. I don't know why Johnston made them so old, except to emphasize by their age that they're supernatural and magical. I like the way Johnston told the story, and the way she presented the dialogue. Nevertheless, it was odd. An ok read for Halloween.
Joleene Libby
Jul 25, 2015 Joleene Libby rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Oct 17, 2011 Randie D. Camp, M.S. rated it really liked it
A 700-year-old woman and an 800-year-old man discover that it's Halloween, the perfect day to bake their pumpkin into a pumpkin pie. They rush out to their garden but the pumpkin is gone. They ask all kinds of spooky creatures if they've seen the pumpkin but they have no luck. Can a 900-year-old wizard help them find their pumpkin?

Tomie dePaola's famous illustrations are a perfect fit to Tony Johnston's fun, repetitive, interactive text.
Ashley Wampler
Oct 12, 2010 Ashley Wampler rated it really liked it
Shelves: fun-read, seasonal
The Vanishing Pumpkin is a cute Halloween book! An old man and woman realize that it is Halloween, and they want to make a pumpkin pie from the pumpkin that they have been growing. However, the pumpkin is gone! They begin to search for it, and ask all sorts of Halloween creatures where it is. No one knows. Then they meet a wizard who has made the pumpkin into a Jack O Lantern. He did however, make them a pie and they all eat it together!
Oct 01, 2009 Josiah rated it it was ok
This book is surprisingly clever, written with some nice humorous twists that credit the author's imaginative skills quite well. As a Halloween picture book they don't get much better than this one; in particular, the interactions between the various "ruffians" and the very, very old man and woman is funny to read.
Priscilla Schelling
This story was the third grade classroom favorite of my teacher at the elementary school. I really enjoyed how the third graders picked up on the impossibility of there being a 700 year old woman and 800 year old man who can fly. Their interest was perked and then the teacher used this great Halloween story for a story map to practice summarizing.
May 17, 2010 Laura rated it liked it
This was an amusing tale, if not a little repetitive. I liked seeing what the old man and old lady did to anyone they thought had taken their pumpkin. The ending was a bit of a letdown, but I still liked the book. I might recommend.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Kristin Lee
Sep 11, 2012 Kristin Lee rated it really liked it
I LOVED this book when I was growing up. I like that it starts out saying, "There was a 700 year old woman. There was an 800 year old man." It just shows the humor that is throughout the story. This is a great book to read to children around Halloween. The illustrations are good throughout the book too.
A 700-year-old woman and an 800-year-old man go looking for their missing Halloween pumpkin and meet several ornery spooky critters along the way.

I'm always looking for new Halloween stories to share, so I picked this one up. While it's not the greatest, I think kids will laugh at the old-man's tricks, and the silliness that goes along with the chase.
Oct 21, 2009 Tiffany rated it liked it
Fun book about a hundreds of years old couple whose pumpkin goes missing. In setting out to find who snitched it, they encounter several characters on whom they play Halloween tricks on (in the name of finding the pumpkin, of course). My kids (9, 6, 3 years) thought it was hilarious.
A fun, silly tale with a rewarding, pumpkiny ending. Would have been nice if the humans weren't all white (although the wizard might have been, green?) and if the folks they meet on the trail weren't all males, but you know the drill.
Oct 11, 2009 Barbara rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: young children, aged 4 to 9
Shelves: children-s-books
Brought this library book over to my dtr's and "we" all read it before dinner. My 8 year old granddaughter read it although there were some "new' words--"ghoul" "rapscallion". The repetition makes it fun fro litle ones.
Oct 23, 2009 Sheila rated it really liked it
Kids like this book with such fun and unusual characters. I have been reading it to school kids for years. The book hooks them, from the first time they hear the old man wondering where his pumpkin went, "Snitched!"
Oct 13, 2013 Edna rated it it was amazing
The old man and old woman investigate a missing pumpkin and run into 3 suspects including a wizard who pleasantly surprises them all. Wonderful illustrations by Tomie dePaola make the story even more fun to read!
An 800-year old man and an 700-year old woman discover that their pumpkin has been "snitched" and set off in search of it, interrogating whomever they meet along the way. My favorite of the characters they encounter is the rapscallion, who bears a strong resemblance to a Jawa from Star Wars.
Oct 31, 2013 Miri rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-read
A wonderful Halloween story. A 700 year old woman and 800 year old man want their pumpkin to make a pumpkin pie, but someone stole it. The chase is on the track down their pumpkin!
Horace Mann Family Reading Challenge
This book is about this vanishing pumpkin. A 700 year old man and a 600 year old women are trying to find a pumpkin. A.P.
Sep 06, 2014 Pascale rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2016
I've loved this book since I was little, never gets old!
Oct 31, 2011 Junessa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 3rd Grade and younger
Engaging story with classic halloween characters - ghoul, rapscallion, wizard. Nice read aloud book.
Killam Elementary
Oct 22, 2010 Killam Elementary rated it it was amazing
Where did that pumpkin go? The kids absolutely loved the old lady and man, who fairly flew.
Bright, cheerful illustrations kids will like. Quite a silly story, and VERY silly characters.
Mom Taxi Julie
Oct 03, 2011 Mom Taxi Julie rated it liked it
What a weird little book
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Tony Johnston has written many acclaimed books for young people. She and her husband lived in Mexico for fifteen years, where they raised their children. She now lives in San Marino, California.
More about Tony Johnston...

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