The Pumpkin of Doom is such a clever little book; it builds up with this cheeky little idea, stealth like, with a really humorous streak. As a reader, I think you sort of know what the outcome will be and that there will be justice along the way but it’s, as the sticker says, ‘Super readable’!
Everyone is afraid of the school bully Jason Banks. He behaves in a very non friendly way towards everybody and consequently his peers steer clear of him. There are reasons for this – as there always are – and the book subtly explores those. Jason lives with his mum who has to work very hard and doesn’t really see him at all. His obvious hurt at this comes out in treating everybody in a bad tempered way because he is feeling bad himself. There is lots to think about in the book and what you see on the surface isn’t quite what’s happening underneath.
The book is about second chances and not judging – seeing beyond a person’s actions. When Millie arrives at school everybody tells her to keep away from Jason but she strives to develop a friendship with him much to everyone’s horror. Meanwhile a pumpkin carved with the words ‘pumpkin of doom’ keeps mysteriously appearing in Jason’s life, on his doorstep…everywhere! What is the meaning of it?
The book is a Barrington Stoke read so will be really effective in engaging reluctant older readers but everyone. It’s an all round winner, just seems to hit the spot on lots of different levels with some fantastically quirky illustrations to help too.