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A sincere patch of orange books

PUMPKINS FROM THE SKY? by Julia Van Nutt Illustrated by Robert Van Nutt Doubleday Unpaged, $15.95 All ages

PUMPKIN CIRCLE: THE STORY OF A GARDEN By George Levenson Photographs by Shmuel Thaler Tricycle Press Unpaged, $14.95 Ages 5-8

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Nothing signals fall like a big pile of farm-stand pumpkins. Why not take advantage of the cooler weather by curling up with a good book about these orange wonders?

Pumpkins From the Sky? portrays the autumn charm of a mid-19th-century American village. For wife-and-husband team Julia and Robert Van Nutt, it's the third picture book in their Cobtown series. Once again, they let 10-year-old Lucky Hart tell the tale through her diary. In Cobtown, folks happily bustle about in preparation for an anticipated harvest festival. But when a storm topples a huge elm tree across Heddy Peggler's way into her garden, no pumpkins can roll in the traditional pumpkin race. Town residents are trying to make the best of this disappointing situation, but Heddy is unhappy. A solution comes from an unexpected source. Could pumpkins really have dropped from the sky? Little striped pig Oinkey knows the secret, but he's not telling. This gentle book is not only appealing for its engaging story, but also for its lovely illustrations, its diary format, and its scrapbook details.

The Pumpkin Circle, by George Levenson, may convert any reader into a pumpkin lover. The beautiful and artistic color photographs by Shmuel Thaler are outstanding. Seeds, leaves, flower, bugs, and orange pumpkin orbs fill these pages. Children learn a lot about the cycle of planting, growing, harvesting, and planting again from the playful rhyming text that tells the garden story. A final page of notes has plenty of good information for those interested in starting their own pumpkin patch.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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