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MYSTERY VINE; A PUMPKIN SURPRISE

Author: Cahtryn Falwell

Illustrator: Cathryn Falwell

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Publisher: Greenwillow Books, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Two young children tell us about the garden they have planted. In the spring they planted lots of seed, and throughout the spring they harvested lots of great vegetables: lettuce, peas, and radishes. But then they discovered a vine growing in the garden ... but not anywhere they had planted seeds. All summer long, while they were picking tomatoes and carrots, the vine kept growing. It wasn't until fall that they uncovered the mystery - pumpkins! This is a nonfiction picture book in rhyme to help new readers AND gives them a great lesson in gardening.

Type of Reading: family reading,playtime reading, learning to read, read aloud book, developing reader

Recommended Age: read together: 2 to 6; read yourself: 6 to 8

Interest Level: 2 to 7

Reading Level: 2.2

Age of Child: Read by a 7-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Although my daughter figured out the answer by looking at the book cover, she still enjoyed reading the story. In fact, she read it several nights in a row. With each reading, she added more animation to her voice with dramatic questioning and "suspense."

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a cute story. The illustrations are collage (a personal favorite) and done simply, which will add to the appeal for younger children. This is definitely a book that first graders can read, and it's nice to see some nonfiction that doesn't shout "I am an I can read book."

Pros: Everyone can enjoy following along from spring through fall with this story about planting a garden.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. If you're planting a garden (or planning to) with your kids, definitely buy this book. It will help them "follow along" as their own garden grows.

If You Liked This Book, Try: VEGETABLE DREAMS HUERTO SONADO   RUBY LEE THE BUMBLE BEE; A BEE'S BIT OF WISDOM   NAMA KWA'S GARDEN

Educational Themes: This is a fun book to share with toddlers and gives them a chance to do some object identification (Mom, girl, boy, shovel, garden, bird, etc). It is also a nice selection when you are helping new readers. The ideal use for this book is in using it as a companion to planting your own family garden, as well as teaching the growing cycle, seasons, and plant needs.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub, Inc. This is an unsolicited donation.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - picture book, rhyme, nature

Date(s) Reviewed: November 2009

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