Teaching Life Science with Children’s Literature: Pumpkin Pumpkin


Wouldn’t it be a dream to find a book that can teach a science topic and a seasonal theme at the same time? Pumpkin Pumpkin, a book written and illustrated by Jeanne Titherington, does just that. This book introduces the life cycle of a pumpkin, starting with a tiny seed and ending with a jack o’lantern.  The boy in the book, Jamie, even saves six seeds from the jack o’lantern to plant the following spring.  I think children will be amazed to learn that before a pumpkin plant grows pumpkins, there are yellow flowers on the vine.   “…and the pumpkin plant grew a pumpkin flower, and the pumpkin flower grew a pumpkin.” 

Students will love the pictures in Pumpkin Pumpkin that were drawn using colored pencils. Each page illustrates a different stage in the pumpkin life cycle in great detail. One of my favorite things about Pumpkin Pumpkin is that a different bug or animal can be found on almost every page in the book. The challenge of finding each one will excite young children.

Pumpkin Pumpkin is a wonderful book to use in kindergarten and first grade classrooms. Not only does the book teach about the life cycle of pumpkins (VA SOL K.6a, K.6b, 1.4b) but it also is a great starter to an entire theme on pumpkins. Pumpkins can be used to teach math (count the seeds), size, texture and numerous other things.  This book will also get students excited about gardening and could be used to introduce the outdoor classroom that many schools now have.

Additional Resources:

  • atozteacherstuff.com has a wonderful lesson plan on the life cycle of pumpkins.
  • Here is a link to an entire pumpkin unit which includes a list of 11 pumpkin books, including Pumpkin Pumpkin. It also includes many activities, songs and poems related to pumpkins.
  • Although it isn’t free, here is a link to a website that has many ideas for a pumpkin theme. I really like the pumpkin life cycle sequencing worksheet.

Book: Pumpkin Pumpkin
Author: Jeanne Titherington
Illustrator: Jeanne Titherington
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: 1990
Pages: 24
Grade Range: K-2
ISBN: 0688099300

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