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Monday, May 9, 2011

What is The Pumpkin Field?

The Pumpkin Field

This may be a seasonal story wonderful for Halloween but most people including children love a scary story any time of the year.   Through the years as I have told or read this story, the children sat listening to every word.  When the story is over it is only beginning as the questions flood forth about all different things from the different children.  I see emotions relating to excitement, curiosity and a desire to share their thoughts, feelings, experiences and questions. 
On this journey through the pumpkin field there are strange, ominous, mysterious, and even magical things that occur.  Was it real or was it a dream?  Could that be why it is requested even now into a new generation?  I hope that my illustrations will bring this tale to life and just as my children and grandchildren and so many others have loved this tale, it will bring a special smile and create memories shared by all who read or receive it.  This book is my gift to be passed on and shared, that can live on and reach out beyond the pages leaving delighted smiles.  The Pumpkin Field is a little book with a big reach.

This new children’s book, The Pumpkin Field is something I am passionate about.  It is only 40 pages but I wrote it to be something different from other children’s books.  Our boys, hated poetry so I wanted to show them a poem could tell a story, but I wanted more.  I wanted to write something that could be used by the parent or person reading it to teach and reach the child allowing them to give and share with the children.  An adult may see so much more in the simple pages than a child.

Every time I have read it, the kids love it and never seem to tire of it…but no matter how many times we read it there is always more for them to talk about and share that it instigates.  It starts out with “It was the dark of night but the moon shone bright, casting shadows on things below…..That sounds ominous but allows us to share later with the child.

 I can remember going outside at night with a clear sky and full moon many times.  When I ask them if it is dark at night their eyes get big and the answer is immediately,,,,YES.  What is dark?  We gaze up at the beautiful night sky lit by the soft moon light and sparkling stars across the heavens.  We could talk for hours, right there and then.  I show them how the moon shines enough light to make shadows and they realize no matter how dark we think it is, there are different lights.  It can be related in so many ways depending on the age of the person involved in the discussion or their own needs.  You would not believe how many adults have talked for hours about these things.  A child filled with fear of the dark often finds a new understanding and release from such fear.

There have been a few occasions when we had gathered with family or friends that I had conversations with adults who had overheard the viewing of the night with the children.  The same simple statement brought other emotions and thoughts to mind and offered a way to find expression.  There are as many thoughts, feelings fears and emotions as there are individuals, but it is often hard to find ways to recognize things that are deep with in and even harder to find a way to deal with them or express them.  It is amazing how often this little poem opens doors.

More than once “the dark of night” has been related to a person’s life.  The voice was soft but the words were from the heart.  “It is odd, but when you said the dark of night, I thought of how dark it sometimes feels in my life.  I have actually felt as if there was no light left….kind of lost…  But there are stars and light..I guess?  ..even if it is still far away and not that bright.”

Another individual related to the darkness instead of the light.  “It makes you realize there really are shadows in the darkness.  You may have some light but who knows what all there might be out there in the night in the shadows?”
There have been so many reactions from the one simple line.  I would like to tell you exactly what it does mean but I do not have all of the answers to life’s questions.  There are times that we can only discover the answers for ourselves…not what someone else tells you they are.  This little story can not tell all of the answers to life but it can be something enjoyed and shared. 

When I had to tell what age group it is written for …that was a problem for me.  I hope it is something that can be for all.  I hope it can be shared.  I tried to do and create something special.  I hope that you like it.

I tried to write an entire poem story that would entertain but be alive in the way it could be used to open the doors of communication for all ages on so many subjects, especially fears, feelings, thoughts, hopes and dreams and even prejudices.  People often hate or fear things that are different or that they do not understand.  They make judgments and decisions from their preconceived attitudes that may not be accurate or honest.  Kids learn more by life and how we live than what we say they should or should not do and adults often do not listen because they have their own opinions.  The witches are old, ugly and dressed differently but are the mean, bad or evil?  Some nursery rhymes have the witches trying to eat the children or casting evil spells.  The boy was afraid because she looked ???scary?  different?  Like a witch???  He saw her sister flying on a broom across the sky….Maybe so, but then again if we are afraid we may assume something that we fear instead of finding the truth of what it really is. Things may not be what they seem.  In his frightened state of mind, could it have been a black bird in flight lighted by the moon that made him think it was a witch.  Is different such as old and ugly, or crippled, or a different race or religion bad?  Her eyes are not that scary.  Could you have a really mean person in a beautiful body….is he or she ugly or beautiful?  I wanted a little story to be able to teach and reach people of all ages in many ways.    

You will not believe how hard I worked to make the pictures special.  I used pastels and charcoal from our BBQ.  I wanted the characters to become real.  Many people have commented that they love the pumpkins.  I tried to explain and finally said that they were the emotions of the children in the faces.  ‘A smile’  the children should be filled with smiles and laughter and joy in life….‘A look of surprise”  children are amazed at the wonderful surprises as they discover so many wonderful things in life….’A look of  fright and a gleam came from his eyes’  Children may have fears but then again they often love to try to scare one another and when they have some special little prank or idea you can see the mischievous look appear.  I want to tell and share all of these things and more allowing this little book to have a long reach.

 I won’t give up and will find a way to share these thoughts and even more as well in the things that I write.  I have even worked and made coloring pages.  When the kids get the books if they like them it is so wonderful to see their imaginations get going and them want to make their own pictures and books.  If a family has several children they may not be able to buy a book for each one and coloring books as many as they want to color.  I am going to post pages little by little on the fan page so that they can copy them for free and the kids can make pictures to decorate and books and write their own stories to go with them.  They can copy as many as they want when ever they want. 

My new Children’s book, The Pumpkin Field is a dream of mine coming true.  When I received the proof and held it in my hands I was holding a book of memories.  Memories of the many times I have read and told the little story and all of the reactions.  Memories of the smiles and enthusiasm as each child joined in sharing thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams and ideas.  Memories of when they used it at the State Park for their Halloween celebration.  There were adults who brought their children to visit and wanted me to tell them the story or show them the pictures.  From one generation to the next it had to become a book that each could keep and share with someone special to them.  It is time that any and all can have their own and make their own memories.  It is time to see if they can see more in the passages and words than a simple story but one that fires the imagination.

Each and every page of this book is an exact print of my art work.  Each page was done with thought, care and to the best of my ability to not only create the art, but the feeling to bring the story and characters to life.  Who knows what the scarecrow or pumpkins, cat, boy, witch or others may come up with if I write another.

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