Thursday, November 02, 2017

Giant Pumpkin Suite

Giant Pumpkin Suite. Melanie Heuiser Hill. 2017. Candlewick Press. 448 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Rose's bow zinged off the cello strings. Thomas hit the button on his stopwatch and grinned.

Premise/plot: Rose and Thomas are fraternal twins, though you'd never be able to guess. She's very tall for her age; he is very short. She can't seem to stop growing; he can't seem to start. She's several grades ahead of him as well. What do you need to know about Rose? She LOVES, LOVES, LOVES playing the cello, loves and adores Bach especially. She also is EXTREMELY fond of Charlotte's Web. In fact, she reads it at least once a month, and has for years. She hates her height and her curly hair. We know a little less about Thomas, but what we do know is easy to love. He's kind, compassionate, curious, eager to help, excited about life, optimistic.

The book opens in May, I believe, Rose and Thomas come to the aid of their friend and neighbor, Mr. Pickering. He's fallen down the basement stairs. Fortunately, Thomas finds him soon after, and Rose calls 911. Mr. Pickering asks them to take care of a precious seed and get it planted for him. This seed is for a GIGANTIC pumpkin.

The good news: Pickering's life is never in danger. The bad news: The summer doesn't quite go as planned. It ends up being the best-worst summer ever.

Thomas is beyond excited about the pumpkin project. Rose is a little more hesitant to commit ALL her free time to a plant. Even if her music teacher asks her to practice less, practice outside, and to play Bach for the plant. There is a big Bach competition coming up and Rose is nervous and feeling the pressure.

The competition never happens--not for Rose. What will Rose gain by losing?

My thoughts: I really loved this one. I loved the focus on family. Rose's family is close. Rose and Thomas are being raised by their mom and grandma. I loved how supportive they are of one another. I also loved the focus on friendship. Mr. Pickering and Mrs. Kiyo are two elderly neighbors that also love having Rose and Thomas in their lives.

There is a family in the neighborhood as well--the Jacobis. Rose doesn't "like" any of the kids. Jesse and James are identical twins. Jane is a girl near her own age. Rose calls her CALAMITY Jane, but the nickname is a bit unearned. Jane and Rose both want to have the library's copy of Charlotte's Web checked out ALL THE TIME. So much so that the librarian has a system: one week Rose, one week Jane, one week on the shelf to have available for another patron. Speaking of the librarian, she LOVES musicals. As in SINGS at the library on the job. This librarian is like a second mother to Jane. But over the course of this best-worst summer, Rose is invited into the group.

The book has a community theme to it. And friendship. It encourages dreams, but also asks what are you willing to do badly out of sheer love for it?!

It is a long book. But it was a good long book. So I personally, as an adult, didn't mind that!

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comments:

Suko 3:55 PM  

I'm glad you enjoyed this book, Becky. Lovely review!

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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