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Rotten Pumpkin: A Rotten Tale in 15 Voices
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Rotten Pumpkin: A Rotten Tale in 15 Voices

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  138 ratings  ·  54 reviews
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 ( ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published July 23rd 2013 by Creston Books
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  138 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
the photos in this book are an easy five stars. watch a jack-o-lantern transform from whimsical holiday porch decoration into flattened, mold covered slime disk in 32 easy pages! it kind of makes me wonder why we don't carve the jack-o-lanterns weeks in advance, because they are way cooler and spookier after all the insects and mold have had their way with them. and i suppose it would discourage mini-hooligans from stealing and smashing them, because kids don't wanna touch this - it is too distu ...more
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Every October you walk into your bookstores and your libraries and you see the overwhelming swath of seasonal fare pelt you from every side. Apples and pumpkins, scarecrows and black cats. You begin to wonder if it's possible to do anything that's both new and autumnal anymore. Then you turn around and you see the book most likely to make you back away in true, abject fear. Rotten Pumpkin: A Rotten Tale in 15 Voices is basically what you'd get if you took Paul Fleischman's Joyful Noise Poems for ...more
Kaethe Douglas
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it

I just wanted to get that out there and clear. The prose is serviceable. This book is all about how a jack o' lantern is reduced to compost, through the assistance of mice, squirrels, slugs, bugs, molds, and fungi. The photos are awesome if you enjoy seeing a mold up close. It makes me want to document the decay of our carved pumpkins, day by day.

Perfect for those who enjoy the science of grossness.

Library copy.
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A dynamic mix of story and nonfiction, this book follows the life of a pumpkin. He has his shining moment as a jack-o-lantern lit for Halloween, but then is put into the compost. That is where the story gets interesting. First he is chewed on by mice, squirrels, slugs and vomited on by flies. Now he looks a lot different and has fungi growing. The various molds introduce themselves, explaining what they do, including the fascinating Penicillium. Sow bugs, earthworms, slime mold and yeast work on ...more
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Icky Gross Fun! As a school librarian, I have learned that gross out factor can have great appeal for a book and this one does not disappoint.
David M. Schwartz and Dwight Kuhn take us through the decomposition of a Halloween pumpkin. As someone who has left a pumpkin out too long and had to deal with the mushiness afterward, I found it truly fascinating to actually see up close what is going on. Schwartz and Kuhn start with the mice and squirrels that will feed on your pumpkin and go all the way
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
After Halloween, a Jack-o'Lantern no longer takes its place as the center of attention. Unloved and forgotten by humans, the fruit begines to rot over the subsequent pages. The photographs and text are filled with fascinating facts and images as a mouse, a squirrel, and slugs munch on the pumpkin, leaving places for mold to grown. By the time various fungi have had their way with the pumpkin, its seeds spill into the garden soil, possibly resulting in another Jack O'Latern in a few months. What ...more
Oct 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: children who enjoy 'gross' things
Shelves: easy-non
Educational, graphic (in a gross, decomposing way), and surprisingly sad! For its targeted age-group, Rotten Pumpkin is just the right amount of exposition and explanation, the color photos are all perfectly gross for children of that age, and everything is easy to follow-along. However, everything is written in the first-person, and while the narration of the animals and fungi that are doing their deeds to the pumpkin, hearing the pumpkin itself discuss its uselessness and dissolution was surpr ...more
Becky Carleton
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite "Halloween" book, but it's actually a great book to read any time of the year. Yes, it's rotten. Yes, it's gross. But it's also beautiful in its telling of the life cycle of a pumpkin. Thank you, decomposers, for the hard work you do! "The molds and rots, the earthworms and sowbugs, the many fungi, yeast, and bacteria. Even flies, birds, squirrels, mice, and slugs do their part. With decomposers working, working, working non-stop, the earth is a fruitful place." This book is ...more
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked how different characters got to speak about their experiences with the pumpkin as it rotted. The pictures are great too, really gross but engaging. I think it's a good illustration to show decomposing and how living things are connected. ...more
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: evie
This book is awesome! We learned about all the critters that help a pumpkin decompose. We learned why the carved pumpkin breaks down waaaaaay faster than a whole pumpkin (and we observed this back in October-December).
This is a good book to read in conjunction with Sophie's Squash.
Joy Lane
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
good way to teach decomposition
Michele Knott
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
What happens to your jack 'o lantern after Halloween is over and it has been left outside to rot. Amazing science, but photos that might've made my stomach turn :) ...more
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book, bk-es
This will be a fun one for science class.
❂ Ann ❂
Don't read this book during dinner like I did. It was absolutely disgusting--the picture of Fusarium rot and slime mold on the pumpkin especially!=) But it was scientifically sound. ...more
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
Gross, fascinating, wonderful. Perfect for homeschool science.
Leigh Collazo
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it

More reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants.

SUMMARY: Told in 15 voices--animals and insects that feed on the pumpkin, the molds that grow on it, and the pumpkin itself--this picture book tells the story of what happens to a Jack-O-Lantern after Halloween is over. Includes full-color photos.

REVIEW: A couple of years ago, we had a pumpkin carving/decorating contest at my school. Students and faculty participated, and our eighth grade math classes drew on and decorated Halloween pumpkins to experiment with
Not all kids like reading non-fiction and I know when I was in elementary school I had no drive to read them. So I made a promise to myself to read my kids non-fiction books at a young age in hopes to help them learn about the world in real life and in books. So we picked up this book, "Rotten Pumpkin" by David M. Schwartz from the library. I myself have read this book while student teaching so I knew what was going to happen. My three kids did not and were grossed out. Bahaha.

So in this book t
Oct 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful collection of narratives from the various decomposers who attack a pumpkin after (and sometimes before!) Halloween. We've seen this many times ourselves, so we loved the different actors who have their way with this gourd.

It reminded me of a project that my youngest daughter's preschool teacher conducted several years ago - she put chunks of pumpkin in a sealed jar and the class watched it slowly decompose over the course of a few months. Gross, but very cool.

Overall, it's
Oak Lawn Public Library - Youth Services

Grade Level: 5th grade & up

This is a book about a rotten pumpkin written in 15 different voices; the voices include the pumpkin, all the animals that are eating the rotten pumpkin (mouse, squirrel, slug, etc.), the mold that forms in the pumpkin, and various other voices. The book is about what happens after you have carved your Halloween pumpkin and it is left outside to rot. It goes into a lot of scientific terms so kids really learn about how the pumpkin breaks down and basical
S Farneth
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the perfect book to introduce an ecosystem that is self contained, or to explain how nature is dependent on various life forms. Rotten Pumpkin begins with Halloween night and a carved pumpkin in all its glory. However, after the night of jack-o-lanterns it is tossed out to the garden and there it begins its decay.

The story continues with the mice finding it first and nibbling on the carved out pumpkin, the squirrel carries off a seed and the slug gets his turn at eating and making holes
Emilia P
May 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-stuff
A brief, but candid review. The text for this was pretty technical -- there are so many kinds of mold! And some big words about decomposition! And I didn't understand them all and don't think a kid necessarily would! BUT, the pictures of the rotting pumpkin are priceless, no holds barred, totally gross, and I was fascinated by how penicillin mold will destroy other molds. And slimmmme molllld. Gross. A good post-Halloween read, even if some re-phrasing, simplyifing of the text for younger reader ...more
ROTTEN PUMPKIN: A ROTTEN TALE IN 15 VOICES While doing a bit of research, this book arrived through the library. I had no idea what it could possibly be about. I only know the cover was pretty dang ugly!

It turns out this is a book that, through easy-to-understand text and very clear, detailed pictures, explains to us the cycle of life of a pumpkin (and I would think any other fruit?). It begins as a jack-o-lantern, the pumpkin having been gutted and carved, then left on the ground to gradual
Sara Thompson
Jul 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I liked what this book was doing but I found it boring. The paragraphs are far to disconnected to really create an interesting story. It was very sciencey which is fine except it didn't feel like a story and the title of the book gives you the impression it will be a story. I don't think it's a bad book but I feel that the age group that it seems to target won't find it enjoyable. The pictures are great if your child is interested in molds and decomposition. ...more
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-nature
Great! My nine year old really enjoyed it. It would be a super read aloud if you are one of those people that can do lots of different voices. I tried, and my efforts were appreciated. The photos were great and I loved that it was technical and detailed enough to teach even older kids. I appreciated the ideas at the back for setting up experiments on pumpkin decomposition ourselves. I think we will be doing that!
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a book about a rotten pumpkin written in 15 different voices; the voices include the pumpkin, all the animals that are eating the rotten pumpkin (mouse, squirrel, slug, etc.), the mold that forms in the pumpkin, and various other voices. The book is about what happens after you have carved your Halloween pumpkin and it is left outside to rot. It goes into a lot of scientific terms so kids really learn about how the pumpkin breaks down and basically disintegrates back into the earth.
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a fabulous demonstration of how decomposition works. Various animals, insects and molds work together to break a pumpkin down and return every bit of it to the earth. Especially clever is how the author writes from the perspective of each of these creatures to explain their part in the process. Fabulous photography make it even more intriguing and educational.
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ooh, the grossness of a rotten pumpkin. The 15 voices of this tale are the rotten pumpkin and its many bugs and molds and bacteria. We learn what exactly happens to a pumpkin as it sits in your garden rotting in glorious details and images. I think the gross-out factor will definitely draw many kids in and the science of it will fascinate the rest.
Brenda Kahn
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: informational, 2013
Even though my stomach flip flops each time I look at this book, I can't stop browsing it. The photos are phenomenal. The accompanying text seems to start out wanting to be cute but awkward rhyme, then switches into a more scientific conversation, which I prefer. Unique addition to the Halloween shelf. Try to fit it into a middle school science unit. ...more
Mar 17, 2014 rated it liked it
A good book to demonstrate personification to students. The voices of pumpkins, mold, fungus, bugs and earthworms describe their part of the decomposition process and the impact they have on the cycle of life. The photographs give "up close and personal" shots of molds, slugs, bugs, fungi and much more, which should be popular with students. ...more
Suzanne Jordan
Aug 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: grade-1-4, science
Fifteen voices such as a slug, mold, yeast, and earthworm explain how a pumpkin decomposes. Not for the visually faint of heart, the photographs and text capture the decomposition well with particular attention to the gruesome. Be prepared for slimy, fuzzy, rotten-flesh shots with vivid descriptions. Scientifically awesome idea that will interest future microbiologists and grossologists alike.
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