When Pumpkins Fly

When Pumpkins Fly
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
September 08, 2020
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The air is cold, the nights are long, and Halloween is just around the corner. This is the time of year when pumpkins fly! In the remote, fly-in community of Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, the last cargo flight of October brings some strange orange guests for the children. Seeing a pumpkin for the first time, the local kids eagerly carve and light their first jack-o-lantern. But when everyone adjourns to the community hall for the Halloween dance, the pumpkin is left alone outside. The land around Sanikiluaq is home to many spirits who love to cause mischief, especially this time of year. But what would a land spirit do with a pumpkin? This adorable book gives young readers a window into how Halloween is celebrated in an Arctic Inuit community, incorporating contemporary celebrations and Inuit folklore.

Editor review

1 review
cute and spooky Halloween picture book
(Updated: October 14, 2020)
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
WHEN PUMPKINS FLY is about the arrival of pumpkins via plane that are then taken to the classroom where children carve them. One child gets to bring the pumpkin home and put it out while they all go trick-or-treating. At night, after they go to bed, the tunnaat come to gather what they need in and out of houses - will they take the old pumpkin with them?

What I loved: It is so great that this brings some aspects of Inuktitut culture with it. I loved hearing new words and learning a little bit about a different culture. Although most are customs we all share around Halloween, the tunnaat and some of the foods may be new to readers. The illustrations are really fun with lots of color and good depictions of the writing.

What left me wanting more: The tunnaat as shadowy figures coming at night in and out of houses when you are sleeping may be a bit scary for young/sensitive readers. I think older picture book readers would likely not find this scary, but it is worth mentioning. I also would have loved to see more about the culture, but I know it helps children connect with things they are also familiar.

Final verdict: WHEN PUMPKINS FLY is a lightly spooky picture book that introduces some aspects of Inuktitut culture around the fun of Halloween.
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