Pumpkin War (The Pumpkin War)


Billie, one part Irish and one part Ojibwe, is determined to get revenge on her heretofore best friend, Sam.  Last summer when the two of them were part of the big pumpkin race, Sam rammed his pumpkin in to hers causing it to break into pieces and giving him the big win.  Billie isn't done with him.  She isn't going to forgive him.  She's going to get revenge.

So, even when Sam comes down the hill over and over again to offer to tell her the cucumber bugs might be after her pumpkin plants or to help her extract the honey from her beehives, Billie stays mad.

Billie has a lot going on this summer with a new baby in the house, her pumpkins to babysit, a younger sister who follows her everywhere and a visitor who has surprised them all.  What keeps Billie going is her determination to beat Sam this year in the pumpkin race.

The richness of Billie's Ojibwe heritage and Irish ancestry season this story along with a few lessons in how to be a good friend.  Through all the ups and downs, Billie is deeply connected to the natural world around her.  She knows her trees, her bugs, her birds and she understands that when the birds fly low, a storm is brewing.

Friendship matters.  Being a good friend matters.  Lucky Billie gives some nudges to readers that maybe they need to be a bit more connected to the natural world in their neck of the woods.  A great STEM title, beautifully written, this is a story about growing up, getting to know yourself a little better and learning how to forgive.

192 pages 978-1524767334 Ages 8-12

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com


Former best friends compete to see who can grow the biggest pumpkin and win the annual giant pumpkin race on the lake. A great pick for fans of Half a Chance and Gertie's Leap to Greatness.

At the end of every summer, Madeline Island hosts its famous pumpkin race. All summer, adults and kids across the island grow giant, thousand-pound pumpkins, then hollow one out and paddle in it across the lake to the cheers of the entire town.

Twelve-year-old Billie loves to win; she has a bulletin board overflowing with first-prize ribbons. Her best friend Sam doesn't care much about winning, or at least Billie didn't think so until last summer's race, when his pumpkin crashed into hers as she was about to cross the finish line and he won. This summer, Billie is determined to get revenge by growing the best and biggest pumpkin and beating Sam in the race. It's a tricky science to grow pumpkins, since weather, bugs, and critters can wipe out a crop. Then a surprise visit from a long-lost relative shakes things up, and Billie begins to see her family, and her bond with Sam, in a new way.

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