Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Magic Pumpkin by Benji Alexander Palus

The Magic Pumpkin is a fantastical and adventurous story about two brothers who suddenly find themselves in a beautiful and strange land. Escorted by a magic pumpkin, the young boys stick by each other and figure things out together.In this fantasy world, the boys discover four areas: Springland, Winterland, Summerland and Autumnland. Each area has pleasures and challenges. The skies turn multiple colors; there is a make-place, a clothes stone, paint plants and a leaf catching area. There are magical rivers (White, Black and Gold), fire trees, singing fish, and mystical fruits like pinkberries, rainberries, pumpkin apples and parrots (potato on the outside, carrot inside and the taste of French toast). The magic pumpkin flies the boys everywhere and remains their constant companion, their support, and sometimes their savior.

When the books opens, Owen is five years old, Oliver is three, and they have been in this world since little Oliver was only 18 months old. And it is not revealed until later that Oliver was very sick when he arrived. The author, Palus, is very good at describing the boys’ thoughts and feelings as they navigate their relationship and the environment around them. The boys don’t understand how they got to this special place, but they figure out how to decide their future together.

Throughout this tale, the young brothers hold together through tantrums and hunger, big storms, attacking beasts, and shadow eyes that cause nightmares and night terrors. Oliver’s illness actually fades and he gets healthier. The boys grow up together; both boys outgrow their clothes, Owen tries to potty train Oliver. Oliver’s speech develops from one-word answers to full sentences. And because Owen is older and spends most of his time caring for Oliver, he tires of their life there sooner. This remarkable story explores the bond between two young brothers as they take an exciting and daring journey together and learn from each other how to be strong. As Palus aptly puts it, “…they were running because there was joy in their hearts… for the boys loved each other and they were together.” Readers will enjoy Owen and Oliver.

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