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Picnic at Mudsock Meadow

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  141 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
William's greatest hopes for the Mudsock Meadow's annual Halloween picnic are to maybe win a few contests, definitely show up Hester Bledden, and -- absolutely, most importantly -- not embarrass himself But after suffering Hester's constant teasing, and then coming away empty handed from every contest, William finds an even more important challenge -- saving the people of ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published May 19th 1997 by Puffin (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 247)
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Lisa Vegan
I’ve been very impressed with many of Patricia Polacco's books, especially Thank You, Mr. Falker, but this one was just okay.

Even though except for pumpkin carving and a “costume” it isn’t much like other Halloween books, it takes place during a Halloween picnic so I suppose it could be an atypical Halloween book.

This was too mean spirited for me to like it that much. There’s nothing that horrible but one kid being made fun of and called names “all in good fun” wasn’t fun for me.

The best part of
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
The story takes place at the annual Halloween picnic and it seems that everyone is in attendance. Like many towns, the Mudsock Meadow has a legend about eerie lights coming from the swamp and it is said to be haunted by the ghost of an old miner. The swamp is smelly and the children frequently pinch their nose and say "peeee youuu" throughout the story. William and Hester are competitive friends and they tease and taunt each other during the pumpkin carving, at the fishing booth, at tug o' war b ...more
Rosa Cline
Dec 15, 2014 Rosa Cline rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids, halloween
As most of Ms Polacco's books she either writes from her own family history, her own experiences or like this one based this story from stories she grew up listening to from her grandparents. Very cute Halloween 'ghost'-girl playing hard to get story. This story isn't as long as some of her other books and as always illustrations are great. Even my almost 3 year old granddaughter sat and listened through the entire story and loved it.

Oct 07, 2015 Kelley rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Read with a group of second graders

William is the kid in town who can't seem to ever get things right. The other children laugh at him and call him stinky. But during the annual Halloween picnic at Mudsock Meadow, William turns it all around. It turns out that paying attention in science class can really save a kid's reputation!
Linda Lipko
Oct 17, 2014 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it
William has a huge crush on Hester. Hester, on the other hand, loves to taunt and tease, make fun and somewhat bully him.

When the Halloween picnic at Grange hall occurs, William tries to impress Hester. Sadly, each contest he enters makes him look more foolish in Hester's eyes.

When he decides to dive into Quicksand bottom swamp, something others are loathe and fearful to do because of the supposed ghost of Titus Dinworthy, he becomes covered in eerie swamp gas.

Glowing, he wins the prize as Hallo
Apr 19, 2016 Alex added it
Shelves: picture-books
This is a story of a boy who is trying to impress a girl so he is participating in all the events at the Halloween festival, but all that seems to be happening is he is making a fool of himself. Until the last event when he shows bravery, and the girl changes her mind about William.
Oct 25, 2015 Teri rated it liked it
Shelves: halloween
We love pactricia polacco, but this isn't one of my favorites, mostly because I'd like to know if this story is scientifically possible and what bioluminescence could be the cause of the glow in the swamp.
A McCavitt
Dec 30, 2015 A McCavitt rated it liked it
Good story about a small town's fall festival where a boy named William shows courage.
Jun 28, 2011 Kinga rated it liked it
This one was not my favorite Polacco book. It is actually a Halloween story or supposed to be one, but except for pumpkin carving and some costumes and that it takes place in a "Halloween picnic (?)" it is not really about Halloween. The story is less warmhearted than the other Polacco books (a kid being made fun of and called names "just for fun"). Polacco is a very, very prolific writer - at this book I feel for sure she should slow down and think more what and how she wants to write as she is ...more
Brenna Johnson
Feb 11, 2014 Brenna Johnson rated it really liked it
Bravery triumphs!
Mary Anjali
Jun 04, 2012 Mary Anjali rated it really liked it

This is a great story to use just before Halloween, the students can learn about different activities that they could do as a group to make their own "Harvest Festival". This story also sends a message about Bullying and how to overcome someone that is constantly teasing you. Having the strength to prove them wrong. In the end the boys shows courage and that is another message about different quality traits that people have, to show that we are all unique. Everyone has strengths and everyone has
Dec 15, 2012 Shar added it
Shelves: childhood
I read this when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade (about 8 or 9 years old), so I don't really remember it but I found this book at my parent's house the other day and was happy to find that they hadn't thrown it away. Patricia Polacco visited my elementary school and read this book aloud to my class in the school library, and afterwards she gave autographs to each of us who brought our own copy. She even drew a little Jack-o-Lantern face on the pumpkin in the illustration of the cover page. :)
I had no idea this was a Halloween book. I think I'd gotten it because there was mention of ice cream that might work for the Sweet Treats theme. But no way. I did feel as if I'd gone back to the early 1900s and couldn't help thinking a little of "Music Man" with a couple of references in the book. It's typical illustration for Polacco, but I like it. The storyline had a couple of spots that didn't flow smoothly, but overall the book was not bad. There are just others I like better.
Shelli Gheen
Apr 03, 2013 Shelli Gheen rated it liked it
In Picnic at Mudsock Meadow (1992), written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco, William just can't seem to do anything right in the eyes of Hester Bledden. She teases him about every competition at the Halloween picnic from pumpkin carving to tug-of-war, until William solves the mystery of the ghost of Titus Dinworthy.

Themes: Halloween

Ways to use with children:
*Read aloud around Halloween.
*Have a costume contest.

Oct 27, 2011 Dolly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a fun Halloween story from Patricia Polacco. It's a bit lighter than some of her other stories, but the interaction between the characters and the illustrations are very typical for her stories. We enjoyed reading this story together. The story reminds me of another book that mentions the swamp gas. I'll see if I can find it in my reviews.
Nov 06, 2011 Laura rated it it was ok
I generally like Polacco's work but I don't think this is a particularly great title. William attends the annual Halloween party, desperately trying to impress Hester Bledden. When William chases away the ghost of Titus Dinworthy, he wins a prize and Hester's affection. There are better Halloween books and ghost stories out there and as much as I like Polacco, this might be a title to skip
Aug 10, 2011 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
As an Australian who has only recently started 'celebrating' All Hallow's Eve with our neighbours I didn't even realise at first that this was really a Halloween story.

Perhaps I enjoyed it more because I just read the story and enjoyed the characters and their day at the picnic. Loved the 'brave' jump into the will-o'-the-wisp though: terrific slimy, glowy, murky picture.

Jillian Reed
Sep 27, 2012 Jillian Reed rated it really liked it
Shelves: emotions, celebration
This is an excellent children's book. Great imagery and message. This book is about a boy who seems to have the worst luck, but in the end shows great bravery and gets rewarded for it by the whole town.
Oct 18, 2008 Benjamin rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Benjamin by: library
Benjamin loved this book, especially all the clever dialogue (for 4 year old minds) like, "pee uuu!" He also liked this line, "Boy lost in Quicksand Bottoms....outlook bleak!"
May 28, 2015 Relyn rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teachers, parents, kids
Recommended to Relyn by: I love Polacco
Shelves: lawsonland
I just love Patricia Polacco! This one is especially fun. I want to remember to read it to my students next year at Halloween.
June added it
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Gabriel Salter
Gabriel Salter rated it it was amazing
May 26, 2016
Constance Dinsmore
Constance Dinsmore marked it as to-read
May 02, 2016
Jackie rated it it was amazing
Mar 25, 2016
Brigette Robicheau
Brigette Robicheau rated it it was ok
Mar 18, 2016
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