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Me and the Pumpkin Queen

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  403 ratings  ·  103 reviews
Mildred's Guide to Growing a Giant Pumpkin

1. Get the right seeds. These days, no one grows a Pumpkin Show winner without Howard Dill's Atlantic Giant seeds.

2. Convince your dad that having a pumpkin patch in your backyard is a good idea.

3. Make sure that your dogs stay far, far away from your seedlings.

4. Don't let your busybody aunt interfere with your "pumpkin obsession,
Hardcover, 181 pages
Published July 3rd 2007 by Greenwillow Books (first published July 1st 2007)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  403 ratings  ·  103 reviews

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Wendi Lee
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
A sweet, old-fashioned story about a girl who grows giant pumpkins as a means of dealing with her mother’s death. While it deals with grief, it isn’t an overly sentimental book, but rather a hopeful one.
Nov 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that sneaks up on you. It caught me off guard. Based on some positive reviews I'd read and the back cover blurb, I expected it to be cute. I thought I'd kind of like it. I didn't expect to be so swept up in Mildred's quest to grow the perfect giant pumpkin that I was tempted to ignore my 7th period English class today.

But I was.

Marlane Kennedy captures the voice of a fifth grader who has settled into life with her dad after her mother's death and explores the very real
Kate Hastings
Sep 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Grades 3-5
RL 790. What a SWEET book... and sure to be a local hit, as the setting takes place in Circleville, OH, home of the annual pumpkin show.

Reasons I liked this book:

1)Girl lost her mother, but it is obvious that she has a very healthy relationship with her family. Her aunt drives her crazy in the way her mother might have, had she been alive. Her father has stood up for her and given her the support she needs. Mentions that her mother was a foster care kid-- and that not all foster home situations
Oct 08, 2007 rated it liked it
I wasn't expecting much from this book, but it was actually kind of sweet. Mildred decides she wants to grow a giant pumpkin to enter at the Circleville Pumpkin Show. After being discouraged by everyone except her dad and best friend, she tries for several years until she finally grows some that meet her expectations. But will she win? I never knew growing giant pumpkins was so labor intensive...
Dawn Teresa
Oct 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-fiction
Honestly, I bought this book because of the cover: I love Marla Frazee's artwork! Glad to find that I made a good choice!

This was the perfect kick-off to my October Halloween reading. Now I'm in the mood for Autumn, pumpkin pie, apple cider, ghosts, and goblins and all that this time of year brings.

Mildred is a likeable character. In fact, the whole cast was likeable. There were touching moments, humorous moments, and nothing ever got too saccharine or too ridiculous. I loved reading about gian
The Library Lady
Mar 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
People keep brushing this book off as "cute". It's not. And Mildred is NOT a "cute" character. Was "Lucky" in The Higher Power of Lucky "cute"?

Mildred is an 11 year old girl still struggling to deal with her grief over the loss of her mother. And she has channeled that into a passion for growing a pumpkin big enough to win the Pumpkin Show where her mother was once Pumpkin Queen.

There's nothing "cute" in Mildred, though her Aunt Arlene (who is wonderfully 3 dimensional) keeps trying to make her
Sep 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Since it is autumn I thought this would be a good one to read outloud to the kids, and it started great. Then we got to page 7 and the Aunt wants to take the girl shopping and tells the dad, "The girl is starting to . . . grow." and Lauren and I looked at each other and I said, OK, let's try another book. Lauren went ahead and read it and I read it after her and it turned out to be a pretty good book with lots of great information about growing large pumpkins. If I wanted to try and read it to t ...more
Apr 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
I thought this was the strangest book! It was like Judy Blume meets an instruction manual for growing giant pumpkins! I was reading it out loud to my kids until I hit the chapters about bra shopping (my boys don't really get all that...). Then my husband wondered out loud one night if the "coming of age" story and pumpkins were intentional...and I laughed and laughed. I finished the book but it was boring. And predictable. Skip it.
Emily Patterson
Oct 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
A delightful autumn read; lots of heart; strong narrative authority.
Eileen Winfrey
Found this book on a bottom shelf in my library today (only in my second year in this job and so I'm still finding new things in my collection) and took it home for Fall Break. A sweet story about Mildred and her years-long quest to grow the biggest pumpkin for the Circleville, OH pumpkin festival. (A real place! A real and current festival!). Fourth and fifth grade girls are the perfect audience for this read (bra buying and ear piercing are part of this story of growth), and it's the prefect r ...more
Lisa Fultz
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this out loud to my pre-k class. It was a perfect book for October. The children enjoyed it and I was able to tie in some social emotional and mathematics while reading it. Their faces were priceless at the end of the book. I would read it again to another class.
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A heartwarming story that makes you root for Mildred 100%. She is steadfast in reaching her goal, even giving up days of fun, to make it happen. Love the characters and their rooting her own and encouraging her aim.
Jack O
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brittany Allen
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Giant pumpkins are what I’m focused on morning, noon and night. I’ve got pumpkins on my mind. ❤️📖🎃 such a cute Book to get you in the mood for the Pumpkin show 😊
RJ McGill
Jul 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids, reviewed
To honor her Mom, eleven-year-old Mildred is determined to win the Circleville, Ohio, Pumpkin Show and fulfill a dream left undone by her mother's untimely death. However, with each passing season, something goes inherently wrong and her dreams are dashed again and again. Aunt Arlene is more than a bit concerned about Mildred's apparent obsession with pumpkins and tries, in her overtly pushy way, to persuade her niece to pursue more feminine interests, such as makeup and fancy clothing. Thankful ...more
Sep 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 3-5th graders, pumpkin show lovers
Shelves: booktalkers
Mildred doesn't consider herself obsessed--not the way some kids are obsessed with basketball or High School Musical, but she does allow that she is very serious about growing pumpkins. Not just any pumpkins, no, Mildred(named for her grandma)has her sights set on winning the award for the biggest, heaviest pumpkin at the Circleville Pumpkin Show. Her desire to grow a thousand pound pumpkin sprouted when she was six the year her mom died. It began as a secret. Mildred had heard that her mom had ...more
Bluerose's  Heart
Dec 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I think it was an attempt to hang on to the last of Fall(read in November). Doesn't that cover just look Fall-y? And, I've grown to think very highly of the Greenwillow Books label!

In Me and the Pumpkin Queen, we meet Mildred.

"There's a bunch of T-shirts with sparkly words on them: Princess, Spoiled, Sweet. I see an orange one with the word Pumpkin in a fancy lettering and grab it. Not only does it catch my attention for obvious reasons, but Mama used to call me Pumpkin. She didn't care for the
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Julie M. Prince for

Mildred dreams big dreams in the shape of a pumpkin. This may seem strange to some people, and it especially does to her Aunt Arlene, who's convinced Mildred should start acting and dressing like girls her own age. It's not normal, according to Aunt Arlene, for 11-year-old girls to spend every single summer cultivating a tiny seed and trying to grow it into a giant pumpkin. Even if it is to win the Circleville Pumpkin Show's giant pumpkin contest.
Crazy Uncle Ryan
Aug 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Kelli Handy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
What a cute little book. Picked it up because it's on our Battle of the Books list.

It's not the loveliest line in the story. But it made me laugh. "And speak of the devil, she is just now interrupting my Saturday morning, the screen door of Daddy's office banging behind her." Mildred's (don't let the old fogey name fool you as she is lots of fun) aunt wants to take her ... shudder ... shopping!

Mildred and her veterinarian dad are all alone as Mildred's mom passed away a few years ago. That's a
Nov 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Grades 3-6
I really enjoyed this book. Basically, it's a story about a girl named Mildred whose mother has passed away from cancer. Her mother wanted to try to grow a giant pumpkin after seeing the big pumpkins displayed at the Circleville Pumpkin Show (in Circleville, Ohio). Since the mother never got to try, her daughter is determined to grow one for her.

The story's main focus is on the work and perseverance that Mildred goes through to attempt to grow a pumpkin to be entered into the pumpkin show despit
Sep 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although Mildred's Aunt Arlene is trying to get her interested in clothing and being more social, all Mildred cares about it growing the largest pumpkin and entering it in Circleville's annual Pumpkin Festival.

I had read this book knowing it was about the Circleville Pumpkin Festival. We have gone to it for several years with our sons and their friends....and always being so amazed by the giant pumpkins there and wondering how they get them to grow so big.

Well Mildred an 11 year old girl in the
Ashley Saunders
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: libs-642
Kennedy, M. (2007) Me and the pumpkin queen. Greenwillow Books.

Fiction Choice- Contemporary Realistic Fiction

Starred Review by School Library Journal

Growing up in a town that is famous for their annual pumpkin competition sparks a dream and competition in this book. The story follows Mildred who has always dreamed of growing a prized pumpkin to make her mother in heaven proud. After a lot of struggles and failed attempts she hits a stride one particular year and could win it all. There are many
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A winning story that charmingly depicts one girl's sheer determination to achieve a goal and honor her late mother.

Mildred loves going to the Circleville Pumpkin Show every October to
look at the giant pumpkins. Her mother, who died when Mildred was 6, was Pumpkin Show Queen in the 11th grade and often mused that she should try growing a giant pumpkin. Since her mother's death, Mildred has grown pumpkins every year trying to nurture one for the contest. At age 11she so far hasn't successfully gr
Aug 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Regina by: 2010 Children's Sequoyah Masterlist
A sweet and fun read for girls, especially those who like science or growing things. Mildred, named after her grandmother, dreams of entering a giant pumpkin in the annual Pumpkin Show in Pickaway County, Ohio. After years of heartbreaking failure, she finally succeeds. Along the way she has to deal with an over-involved aunt, who wants her to be more girly. I certainly learned a lot about raising pumpkins. I never knew what all was involved in growing the monster squash. I like how the author e ...more
Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: girls, school-age, ohio, grief
Wow, GREAT book! Sweet and straightforward, I'll definitely be recommending this book to fourth grade girls.

Mildred and her father live in Circleville, Ohio and ever since her mother's death, Mildred has been slightly obsessed with giant pumpkins and growing her own prize-winner to display at the Circleville Pumpkin Show.

This book allows Mildred to work through her grief in her own way and CLEARLY the author really did her research when it comes to growing giant pumpkins! I didn't know most of t
Sep 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 3-5th gr
As a tribute to her mother who has passed away, Mildred has tried for several years to grow a giant pumpkin for the Circleville Pumpkin Show. Each year her pumpkins do better, but she never quite makes it to the winner's circle. Will this be Mildred's year? I bet you can guess the answer, but this sweet book is still worth your time.
Bonus points: It is local to our part of Ohio (the characters visit Columbus) and for a change even though Mildred's best, well only, friend is a boy, the thought
Nov 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 5th graders
To honor her Mother who passed away when she was six, eleven year old Mildred is determined to win the Circleville, Ohio, Pumpkin Show in Me and the Pumpkin Queen by Marlane Kennedy. Unfortunately, something awful always happens and her pumpkins turn to mush. Mildred’s obsession with pumpkins alarms her Aunt Arlene so she tries to get Mildred interested in boys instead of pumpkins. Will Mildred’s dream of growing a prize-winning pumpkin ever come true? This book is a sweet coming of age story th ...more
Deborah Bobo
Grades 3-5. Me and the Pumpkin Queen will snap you up from the start. Mildred lost her mom to cancer at age 6. Mom was former Pumpkin Queen at the Circleville Pumpkin Festival. She always stood by the giant pumpkins and wistfully stated that she was going to grow one sometime. Sometime never came for Mildred’s mom, but Mildred decided to give it a try. Her first year was a failure, but after that she did her research. Each year brought a new set of heartaches. Will Mildred persist and actually g ...more
Mildred, 10-years-old, takes on the Herculean task of trying to grow the biggest pumpkin in the county, winning the contest, and taking home the $2000 prize. More than the glory, fame, and money, though, is the way Mildred feels it will honor her deceased mother...a mother who was taken much too early by cancer.

Me and the Pumpkin Queen is the story of one little girl's determination in the face of adversity and criticism. You see, her Aunt Arlene thinks it is way too unladylike to be focusing a
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