Thursday, September 2, 2010
Proud Pumpkin (1953), by Nora Spicer Unwin
One fall afternoon in the mid-1980s, I sat with my classmates on the floor in the school library and listened to our librarian read this book. She had a British accent, and though I don't recall her name I can vaguely remember her face. There were many books I heard her read during my years as an elementary student, but "Proud Pumpkin" is the only one that has stayed in my memory. It tells the story of a certain pumpkin in the patch that has a very high opinion of himself. While his brother pumpkins are content to be used for pies, Proud Pumpkin boasts in being selected for display as a jack-o-lantern. Reality sets in, however, when he is quickly discarded the day after Halloween. The effects of decay begin to set in, and the pumpkin is knocked over and nibbled by mice. He feels lonely and empty. Maybe he wasn't as needed or special as he thought. As the coldness of winter arrives and it seems like all hope of being useful is lost, a chipmunk discovers the pumpkin in a heap and makes it his home.