How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?

Margaret McNamara isn’t a teacher, but she probably should be. While visiting my favorite local bookstore today, I discovered this delightful little picture book, illustrated by C. Brian Karas. Even though it has been out for quite a while, it was brought out again for the Halloween season.

Her book, How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?, published in 2007, tells the story of an elementary school teacher, Mr. Tiffin, who brilliantly creates a hands-on math challenge that excites his students.It turns out that the smallest one has the most seeds. Simultaneously, he surreptitiously increases the self-esteem of Charlie, the smallest boy in the class, and demonstrates to the class, especially Robert, the tallest boy, that all of us, even those of small for our age, have value. In Charlie’s words, “Small things can have a lot going on inside them.”

McNamara included some interesting pumpkin facts through Mr. Tiffin’s lecture:

    • A pumpkin is a fruit, not a vegetable;
    • the lines on the outside parallel the rows of seeds on the inside;
    • the longer it grows, the more lines/seeds it will have, and the darker orange it will be;
    • huge pumpkins don’t taste as good as smaller ones;
    • small, sweet ones are the best kind for making pumpkin pie.

What Makes This Reviewer Grumpy?

Not a thing! It is beautifully written and illustrated. How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? is the perfect gift for your little goblin this Halloween season — or any season.


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