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Booklist September 15, 2011 (Online)Preschool-Grade 2. In a picture book that spans the seasons from spring planting to fall harvest, Mouse shows his friend Cat how to plant a pumpkin seed and tend the plant, then surprises her by carving a jack-o’-lantern for Halloween. At each step, after the narrative tells how things are progressing, the cat asks a question, the mouse answers it, and the same short phrase concludes the section: “‘What now?’ asked Cat. ‘Time to plant the seedlings outside,’ said Mouse. So they did.” Succinct and wonderfully satisfying to read aloud, the simple text carries the story and basic gardening instructions, while the final page offers further tips on growing pumpkins. Noted for her illustrations of cats, Mortimer also portrays the mouse, crows, and even pumpkin plants with such fine strokes of color that their fur, feathers, and hairy stems look realistically textured and completely convincing. With a topic and a presentation well tailored to young children, this is a fine choice for reading aloud.Kirkus Reviews August 1, 2011Cat wonders how pumpkins grow, and Mouse is happy to show him, in this seasonal offering for beginning readers. A simple explanation of the seed-to-pumpkin process sets the animals to filling a pot with soil, planting seeds, watering the plant, waiting and watching it grow, making a scarecrow, picking the pumpkin and carving a jack-o-lantern. A more thorough exploration can be found in Gail Gibbons Pumpkin Book (1999), with which beginning readers may already be familiar, so this brief story may be better suited to preschoolers just testing their green thumbs. In her signature style, Mortimer focuses on the cute, cuddly qualities of Cat and Mouse. Oval-framed close-ups and full-bleed spreads capture the unlikely animal friends working together. The final page is the most informative, presenting fleshed-out instructions for growing pumpkins, but ultimately there is little to harvest here. Sweet but bland, this title could still find an audience in autumn. (Early reader. 3-5)Publishers Weekly August 29, 2011In this tender story, Mouse teaches charcoal-colored, emerald-eyed Cat how to grow a pumpkin: Mouse found a watering can. What now? asked Cat. Time to water the seeds, said Mouse. When they plant the seedlings and two crows appear, they make a scarecrow, and when the pumpkins are finally ripe Mouse cuts into one with a knife, telling Cat, I am going to make you a surprise! Mortimers naturalistic yet whimsical scenes exude old-fashioned Halloween charm. Ages 4-7. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.School Library Journal July 1, 2011PreS-Gr 1-One morning in May, Cat wondered, How do pumpkins grow? I know, said Mouse. And I will show you how. Mouse proceeds to guide Cat through the various steps and stages, one phase featured on each spread, until October arrives and they are rewarded with a large orange pumpkin. The steps to growing pumpkins have been featured in numerous picture books, including Zoe Halls Its Pumpkin Time! (Scholastic, 1994) and Jeanne Titheringtons Pumpkin, Pumpkin (Greenwillow, 1986); what sets this one apart are the beautifully composed watercolor illustrations. As she did in Bunnys Easter Egg (HarperCollins, 2010), Mortimer has masterfully captured the texture of her subjects-the softness of the animals fur, the scratchiness of burlap bags, the silkiness of delicate flower petals, etc. At times the scenes are viewed in oval frames, giving the impression that one is peeking into these gentle creatures private world. A page detailing instructions for growing pumpkins is included. A lovely addition that should be popular in any season.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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