I hope my book list of books about pumpkins isn’t too late. There is still time for you to find just the right books to share in your preschool class leading up to Halloween. I particularly like the pumpkin books that dive into how pumpkins grow as I spend time teaching about that every year no matter how old my students are. Do you have a favorite book about pumpkins for preschoolers?
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Pumpkin Eye by Denise Fleming is a beautiful Halloween book for kids who are old enough to feel like Halloween is a spooky night but still too young for any illustrations that may be scary. The short text rhymes beautifully and grabs children’s attention almost as effectively as the illustrations do. The story is all about Halloween night and the sights and sounds on one street as the night progresses. I’ve read this to children from 15 months through 5, and everyone loves it.
It’s Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall is a class favorite. The big colorful illustrations by Shari Halpern help explain the lifecycle of a pumpkin within this story about siblings preparing for Halloween. The family dog is along for the ride as the brother and sister plant, care for, harvest, and eventually, carve their pumpkin. I find this book perfect for circle time, whereas From Seed to Pumpkin further down on this list is better for my science center when we learn about pumpkins.
The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll is as much a book about planting and caring for a pumpkin as it is about learning about how and when to work together. Two little mice decide they are going to enter the biggest pumpkin contest. After tending to a lovely pumpkin for quite some time, they realize they have both been growing the same pumpkin. What should they do? Work together? This is an excellent story about teamwork and putting individual egos aside ( although those words aren’t used), and children love it. For younger preschoolers, it’s a great one-on-one story, but it’s perfect for a group of 4-5-year-olds.
The Runaway Pumpkin by Anne Margaret Lewis reminds me of The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown; only it doesn’t creep me out as the former does. This little story is about an adventurous little pumpkin who imagines his Halloween adventures, and his mom plays along. There is no stalking vibe like I get from the Runaway Bunny. Also, every 2nd page is a full two-page illustration with no text. It’s a fun way to slow the book down and allow readers and listeners to ask questions and discuss as they read, perfect for circle time!
Pumpkin Heads by Wendell Minor is a simple book that my students loved! The book looks at all the different ways that pumpkins get carved into jack-o-lanterns. This is a great book to read before carving pumpkins. It’s also a great way to discuss any fears or anxiety about Halloween; jack-o-lanterns are nothing to be afraid of, and they are just pumpkins!
It’s Pumpkin Day, Mouse! (If You Give) by Laura Numeroff is a Halloween-themed book about emotions. The mouse is busy painting his pumpkins and paints different faces representing different emotions on each. This is a great little book that gives parents an excellent opener to talk about different feelings when things are calm. There is one scary pumpkin, but I doubt it will frighten any readers.
From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer is a great non-fiction book about how pumpkins grow. The text is limited on each page, but it’s a long book, which is why I tend to use this in my science area vs. circle time. In the spring, when we learn about gardens again and plant the pumpkin seeds just before school ends, I will read it to my students as a group. Bu this point in the year, they will have the stamina to read a longer non-fiction book at circle. The book itself is excellent because it goes into more detail about how pumpkins grow than most picture books. It talks about how plants get water from the soil and bees’ role in pollination and even photosynthesis. It’s a great book.
Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell is a great fall book that isn’t just about Halloween. It starts with a family picking pumpkins and apples at a local farm and ends with trick or treating. I like how this book shows the process and progression that fall events take throughout the season. It’s a great circle time book for 2-5-year-olds. This year, in my PreK class, we used this as a launching pad to compare apples and pumpkins.
I Like Pumpkins by Jerry Smath is a cute rhyming book that covers all the characteristics of pumpkins, like shape, size, even what you can bake with them. The super fun Halloween-themed illustrations make this everyday rhyming book extra fun to read with preschoolers.
Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman is a staple in most preschool classrooms. It’s a cute story about a witch who is desperate for pumpkin pie, but her giant pumpkin is too big for her to pick up! Luckily she enlists the help of a ghost, vampire, mummy, and bat, and with a bit of teamwork, they save the night. The rhyming text is almost like a song, and kids love it. This book was my now teenage son’s favorite Halloween book, and I love that it’s the tiniest creature that uses its brain, not brawn, to solve the problem.
Patty’s Pumpkin Patch by Teri Sloat is a great alphabet book and story in one. Readers follow a pumpkin patch from planting the seeds until after Halloween, when they gather the seeds for the next planting. I really like how this book combines an alphabet book with both upper and lowercase letters corresponding to some animal or insect in the story. I also like the easy rhythm of the rhyming text and the engaging and detailed illustrations. All in all, I think this is a great fall book!
Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington is a straightforward look at how pumpkins grow and the tradition of carving them into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. This book is excellent for 2-3-year-olds but doesn’t hold older kids’ attention too well as a story because it’s so basic. That said, it’s terrific for retelling because of its repetition and sequential format. Useful for many ages, just in different ways.
The Legend of Spookley The Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano used to be such a treat to read, and it still is, but now every child has already seen the movie, well not every child, but many. If you aren’t familiar with the animated film or the book, let me share a quick synopsis. Spookley is a weird pumpkin. Well, no one calls him weird, but he is different because he’s square. His shape comes in very handy one stormy night, and he saves all the other pumpkins from inevitable disaster. I love the message, and I also have an issue with the “I’m different, but I saved you, so now it’s OK to be different” trope. However, this book doesn’t end with that. Instead, it ends with the farmer sowing Spookley’s square seeds, which harvests all kinds of unique pumpkins. That’s why I love this book; it’s not about how being different can be good if you save the day, it just celebrates uniqueness in the end.