Pumpkins make me smile; pumpkin soup, scones, roasted or mashed, it doesn't really matter how they come. There's something about the sweetness of Australian grown pumpkins that have us lining up at the buffet table for second helpings.
At Halloween, pumpkins take centre stage with funny faces carved or drawn onto their rotund bellies. You can hear them smirking with mischief or giggling in embarrassment. Could a pumpkin be embarrassed? Of course, why not.
But if you don't have pumpkins in your yard or market this time of year (it's springtime in Australia after all), never fear. Take a look at a wonderful site called Pinterest - an online pin board where you can organise and share the things you love or even just pics you've found on the internet that inspire you. Beware however, because this site is addictive. It's like your favourite magazine with an endless array of creative ideas to play with. While you're there, look up Halloween.
Here's something my daughter, Daniela, created on the weekend from a Halloween idea on Pinterest.
From a selection of glass jars she found in the garage (you know in case I ever decide to make jam or pickles) she has created smirking, sneering, and scared Jack o' Lantern faces (painted with acrylics) to light up a veranda or room for Halloween. Just fill their tum with a tea light. I especially like the squat fat ones.
Yesterday I went along to Marks and Gardner Gallery on Mt Tambourine for the launch of the 'digital' version of my sister, Nadia Sunde's delightful new picture book, Three Little Pumpkins (you were wondering where I was going with all the pumpkin stories), illustrated by Jody McGregor.
Nadia is an international award winning songwriter and Three Little Pumpkins is a story adapted from one of her children's songs. The song Three Little Pumpkins is so catchy children and adults all joined in loudly for the chorus 'Hay hoe, what did I see? One little pumpkin looking at me'.
In the book - a riotous celebration of all things growing, the main character, Nadia, cares for a whimsical garden full of scratching, catching chickens, chirping crickets and two mischievous friends - a goat and a goose. Each day when Nadia tends to her garden she finds a new pumpkin growing in amongst the tangle of plants. All is perfect until one morning she discovers the pumpkins are gone! Oh dear. Who has eaten them all? And now what will Nadia cook for her Halloween feast?
Here's Nadia setting up the sound equipment.
Hootenanny Books is the Australian publisher of Three Little Pumpkins and you can purchase the digital version at their website or pre-order the hard copy, which will be available in January 2012.
Nadia sings the Three Little Pumpkins song
'I went down to the pumpkin patch...'
Nadia Sunde and Jody McGregor
Nadia and Jody read from Three Little Pumpkins
The mischievous goose
Kids join in with maracas and music sticks.
Also launching at Marks and Gardner was award winning illustrator and my dear friend Lucia Masciullo, whose gorgeous book, Come Down Cat, written by the internationally awarded Australian children's author, Sonya Hartnett, will certainly win more awards for for them both.
Lucia demonstrates how to draw 'Marl Cat' from 'Come Down Cat', while Janene from Marks and Gardner Gallery shows Lucia's original illustrations from her portfolio.