Thursday’s Tale: Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman

Thursday’s Tale: Big Pumpkin by Erica SilvermanBig Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
Illustrator: S.D. Schindler
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on October 31, 1992
Genres: Childrens, Folktale
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Add: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon
Once there was a witch who longed for pumpkin pie. Unfortunately, the pumpkin she had grown from a seed became so big she simply couldn't get it off the vine. Although "she pulled and she tugged and she pulled...that pumpkin just sat."

Along came a ghost. "I am bigger than you and stronger, too," said he. "Let me try."

Well, the witch wanted that whole pumpkin for herself. But she needed help -- Halloween was just hours away...

With the rhythm and repetition that children love, Erica Silverman tells a rollicking story about a witch who, through her encounter with a ghost and other spooky creatures, discovers both the value of cooperating and the joy of sharing. S.D. Schindler brings this captivating crew to life in spirited paintings that are as warm as they are funny.

Love, love, love this Halloween kids book! We read our copy so many times when Amber was young that it started falling apart. We went to the pumpkin patch this Sunday and while we were picking out our pumpkins, we had to repeat the catch phrase – “It’s big and it’s mine, but it’s stuck on the vine, and Halloween’s just hours away.”

The rhythmic, repetitive text is perfect and I love the monsters. There’s the must have Halloween visitors, the witch herself, a ghost, a vampire, a mummy and a bat, but the story focuses on how they all end up working together. It’s got a great message of teamwork and friendship. And then they all get to share the pie. A definite Halloween treat.

It’s a perfect read-aloud with plenty of repetition and rhyming and fun voices.

Just then, along came a vampire. “Big pumpkin,” said the vampire.
“It’s big and it’s mine, but it’s stuck on the vine, and Halloween’s just hours away,” said the witch. And she kicked that pumpkin.
“I am bigger than both of you and stronger too,” boasted the vampire, “Let me try.”
“Hmph!” said the witch.
“Hmph!” said the ghost.
But they thought about pumpkin pie and stepped aside.

The Story isactually based on a Russian folktale which is how it fits in my Thursday theme. “The Giant Turnip” was first published in 1863 in the collection Russian Folk Tales, edited and published by Aleksandr Afanas’ev.

It is a progressive story, in which a grandfather plants a turnip, which grows so large that he cannot pull it up himself. He asks the grandmother for help, and they together still cannot pull it up. Successively more people are recruited to help, until they finally pull the turnip up together. First it is the grandfather, then the grandmother helps. The order continues with the granddaughter, the female-dog , the female-cat and finally the female-mouse. The moral of the story is that only with the help of the weakest and smallest creature, the mouse, can the giant turnip be pulled up.

According to Also, the translation loses all the lyricism and rhyming of the tale. In Russian, the similar words repeated patterns combined to make a rhythm that is almost a tongue-twister! “Transliterated, the last line of the tale sounds like this: Myshka za koshku, koshka za Zhuchku, Zhuchka za vnuchku, vnuchka za babku, babka za dedku, dedka za repku, tyanut-potyanut–vytyanuli repku!”

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all.

About Erica Silverman


ERICA SILVERMAN has written many books for children, including Sholom’s Treasure: How Sholom Aleichem Became a Writer, illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein, and When the Chickens Went on Strike, illustrated by Matthew Trueman. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Guest Post: “On Becoming an Author” by Leslie Tentler, author of Fallen


Guest Post: “On Becoming an Author” by Leslie Tentler, author of Fallen

I’m happy to welcome Leslie Tentler, author of Fallen, to my blog today. She’s talking about how she went from reader to write and mentions a couple of books I read when I was a kid.

On Becoming an Author

By Leslie Tentler

It’s sometimes said that authors start off as avid readers who begin to desire even more immersion into fictional worlds. Simply reading becomes not enough, so we begin to dabble in creating worlds of our own, daydreaming stories until finally we attempt the task of putting those ideas on paper (or these days, the computer screen).

For many authors, I believe this path is true.

As a child, I never planned to be a novelist, but I did have a strong imagination. And I also loved to read. My particular favorites were Nancy Drew mysteries. I’d learned the general timeframe in which new ones arrived at our local “Rose’s” – a discount retailer similar to Target or Wal-Mart in our small Southern town – and I’d beg my mother to take me there. Once the book was mine, I’d force myself to savor it as slowly as I could, not wanting that world to end. And when the book was sadly finished, I’d daydream about new plots for Nancy until another mystery was released.

I also became enraptured by Island of the Blue Dolphins, a bittersweet coming-of-age novel I no doubt read a dozen times. I’d imagine life for Karana, the novel’s heroine who survived alone on a desolate island for years, after she was rescued and what her return to civilization was like.

As an author, I realize that creatively, things haven’t changed all that much for me from those days of my childhood. The characters and worlds are now completely of my own creation, but I’m still getting little nuggets of story ideas, glimpses of heroes and villains, passing through my head. Germinating those ideas until they become fully formed novels takes a lot more work, though, and I do sometimes become slowed by adult fears like failure.

It was certainly easier when those stories in my head were just for me, when they weren’t being put out there for the world to see. It can be a little scary sometimes. But in taking the risk and putting my stories “out there,” I also experience the great joy of sharing them with others. There is nothing more elating than having a reader tell you they enjoyed your story, that they shared that same bond you feel with your characters.

While Fallen is a romantic suspense novel set against the backdrop of a tense hunt for a serial killer targeting police, there is also another story within a story. It’s about a once-happy couple torn apart by tragedy, then brought together again by circumstances and fate. It’s this – Lydia and Ryan’s story – that is at the book’s heart. Their journey took a while for me to tell, but I’m glad I finally have.


About Fallen

“If it wasn’t an armed robbery, it was a hit. An execution.”

Amid a sultry Atlanta summer, someone is targeting police…

The investigation becomes personal for APD Detective Ryan Winter when a colleague and friend is shot dead, the second victim in just weeks. But even as he finds himself being drawn into the tense hunt for a serial cop killer, he is forced to re-examine his own shattering personal tragedy.

An ER physician at Atlanta’s busy Mercy Hospital, Dr. Lydia Costa is no stranger to suffering. Still, the recent police slayings reopen barely healed wounds—and bring her face-to-face with her ex-husband, Ryan Winter.

As the body count rises and paranoia tightens its grip on the police force, Lydia and Ryan are pulled together by circumstances and fate…causing old passions to reignite despite their painful shared past. But as Ryan moves closer to discovering the killer’s identity, someone is watching, placing both him and Lydia in mortal danger.

Purchase: Amazon

About Leslie Tentler


Leslie Tentler is best known as the author of the Chasing Evil Trilogy (MIDNIGHT CALLER, MIDNIGHT FEAR and EDGE OF MIDNIGHT). She was named as a finalist for Best First Novel at ThrillerFest 2012 for Midnight Caller, and as a finalist in the 2013 Daphne du Maurier Awards for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense for Edge of Midnight. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Maggie Award of Excellence. Her newest romantic suspense novel is titled FALLEN.

Leslie is a member of Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, The Authors Guild and Novelists, Inc. A native of East Tennessee, she currently resides in Atlanta.

Reader’s Workouts – 10/28/2014


Okay – time for a reboot. I have been pretty lousy at exercising and eating right lately. Part of it is that I haven’t had a goal, part is that we’ve been busy, and last week we went on a mini-vacation which meant lots of food and very little exercise. All excuses, I know, and I could still have easily fit in some walking or a few miles of running, but I didn’t. So it’s time to get back on a track.

Here’s the plan I’ve been using and I like it. I’m going to pick back up on week 11, hopefully. We’ll see how I feel this evening when I head out. At least it’s a nice day to run outside. Long runs are so hard on the treadmill.

training schedule 2

Food is just as important as exercise, so I need to come up with a plan.

Tuesday – shrimp with peppers and spinach. Wednesday – Fall Festival at church, so hot dogs and nachos. Thurs – I’ll be on my own for dinner – I’m thinking a sweet potato, sausage, apple hash, one of my favorite dishes and so easy to make a single serving. Friday- the last football game, so there’s no point pretending I’m not going to have pizza and cheesy French fries. Saturday –  we’re maybe having David’s folks over for dinner, not sure what I’ll serve yet. Sunday – leftovers day. Monday – burgers.

So, there’s my plan – we’ll see how well I do.

Readers’ Workouts is hosted by Joy’s Book Blog. Thanks, Joy, for keeping me accountable.

133.5 – Aug 12, 132.5 – Aug 19, 134 – Aug 26, 132.5 – Sept 9, 131- Oct 1, 132 Oct 7


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