Reviews for Pumpkinhead
Booklist Reviews 2003 June #1
PreS-Gr. 1. Otho was born with a pumpkin for a head. His parents are unfazed by this anomaly as their son "heads" out on the adventure of life. First, a black bat wanting to nest in Otho's head flies off with it. Pumpkins are heavy, however, and the bird drops Pumpkinhead into the sea. Otho floats until a fish swallows him--but a squid squeezes the fish, and Otho pops out like a cork. He's caught by a fisherman and taken to a fish market, where his mother finds him, takes him home, and reunites him with his body, which, luckily for Otho, has been kept in a cool, dry place. The blue, black, and orange relief prints provide heft for the story. The borders and images outlined in thick black lines entice children from page to page while the seriocomic style adds buoyancy. The black cover with a die-cut center square framing Otho's pumpkinhead sets the stage perfectly. The message about individuality will bypass kids, but they'll be intrigued with the quirky, imaginative misadventure. Forget the logic, this story grows on you. ((Reviewed June 1 & 15, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Spring
A boy's jack-o'-lantern head (he was born that way) is lifted off his body by a bat, dropped into the ocean, swallowed by a fish, spit out, and caught by a fisherman before being reunited with its body, which the boy's parents have kept ""safe in a cool, dry place."" While Rohmann's text and attractive, crisply framed relief prints adopt a playful tone, the story never quite justifies its own weirdness. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2003 July #2
Creating thick-lined color woodcuts even simpler than the Caldecott-winning art of My Friend Rabbit (2002), Rohmann follows an unusual lad-or part of him, anyway-on an adventure-filled odyssey. Young Otho is normal enough, except that he was born with a pumpkin for a head. One day while out playing, his noggin is snatched away by a bat, who eventually drops it into the ocean, where it's swallowed, then spit up, by a fish, netted by a fisherman, and purchased at last by Otho's mother. She reattaches it to his body (which had been kept safe "in a cool, dry place"), and gently warns him to be more careful in the future, for "you know the world will always be more difficult for a boy with a pumpkin for a head." Maybe Otho could get some pointers from Arthur Yorinks's It Happened in Pinsk (1983). Decidedly offbeat, but Rohmann is plainly having as much fun as readers will as they watch Otho's expression change as he rolls helplessly from one hazard to the next. (Picture book. 7-9) Copyright Kirkus 2003 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2003 June #2
Rohmann reprises the spacious block-print style of his Caldecott Medal-winning My Friend Rabbit in this quirky tale of a boy with a round pumpkin for a head. Like Stuart Little, Otho looks peculiar among his human family, but an affectionate snapshot shows that his parents accept him. While tossing a ball outside, he gets into trouble with a black bat who "thought Otho's head would make a fine place to live." The bat swoops down and swipes Otho's head. The absurdity continues as the head falls into the ocean (Otho squeezes his oval eyes shut before splashdown), gets swallowed by a fish and ends up at a seafood market. Otho wears a benign, apprehensive smile until his mother comes along ("after some spirited dickering, she bought Otho's head and a half-pound of mackerel") and rejoins him with his body. Given the bat and pumpkin, this could be a Halloween read, but mild Otho is neither spooky nor fierce. The surreal story primarily affords Rohmann the chance to experiment with design. The square book cover frames a charming, die-cut portrait of Otho; inside, dynamic thick black outlines border the pared-down but energetic relief prints. Rohmann places high-contrast black details in expansive white space, and complements the orange of Otho's head with soft shades of blue. The wry tone and theme places this alongside his more sophisticated The Cinder-Eyed Cats and Time Flies. Ages 5-9. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2003 July
PreS-Gr 2-A perfect blend of art and text works together to convey the adventures of a boy born "with a pumpkin for a head." A crafty flying bat plucks up Otho's head and explains in rhyme why he drops it into the sea. After a large fish swallows it, an even larger squid squeezes the fish, with Otho shooting out, "like a cork from a popgun." In excellent pacing, the next page shows the pumpkin-head hero drifting at sea, then scooped up by a fisherman. Young children are sure to enjoy the bouncing rhythm of the fisherman's words as he compares Otho to all the other types of fish he has netted. Besides black and white, Rohmann consistently uses shades of blue and patches of orange throughout. In this artwork, less is truly more. The multiple-color relief prints done on an etching press, with large white space surrounding smaller, movie-still-like pictures, enhance the visual appeal. In Otho's face, Rohmann captures the vulnerable emotions of a lost child, and the wide smiles when returning to a mother's embrace. Gather your little pumpkin heads close to you in the fall as you read them this tale and watch their faces light up with a glowing grin.-James K. Irwin, Poplar Creek Main Library, Steamwood, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.