Competition is a part of young people’s lives: art, sports, music, dance, science, cup-stacking … many children spend a good part of their day practicing, learning, and striving to do their best. Giant Pumpkin Suite is about two types of competitions, a Bach Cello Suites Competition and a giant pumpkin growing competition. Rose and Thomas Brutigan are twelve-year-old twins … but their personalities and interests are quite different. It’s a book set within a neighborhood that pulls together when a serious accident changes the trajectory of their summer. We meet so many interesting people, children and adults, in this book. It’s full of hold-your-breath plot turns.
The book is written at a level for 5th to 8th grade readers (and adults) and it has many ties to popular culture, mathematics, gardening, and the nature of competition. It’s an excellent choice for a book club discussion.
In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. You’ll find books, articles, websites, and videos for a variety of tastes and interests.
You’ll find more information about Melanie Heuiser Hill on her website.
Johann Sebastian Bach. Rose Brutigan focuses on an upcoming Bach Suites Competition by practicing … a lot. Who was Bach and why is his music still with us 260 years after his death? Resources include books and videos of our best cellists playing the Bach Cello Suites.
The Cello. More about the instrument Rose plays, with a number of videos you can share with your class or book club.
Charlotte’s Web. This book is a favorite of Rose and her neighbor Jane. Charlotte’s Web provides a major turning point in Giant Pumpkin Suite. Learn more about the book and its author, E.B. White.
Giant Pumpkins. Thomas and his neighbors work together to grow a giant pumpkin. Today, these pumpkins (not grown for eating) can way over 2,000 pounds—more than one ton. Books, videos, and articles share stories and how-tos for growing giant pumpkins competitively.
Japanese Tea Ceremony. Mrs. Kiyo shares this beautiful ceremony with Rose. The Bookstorm suggests a video for your students to watch.
Mathematics and Bach. Are you aware that Bach used math and physics when creating his compositions? Your students can delve into this fascinating aspect of the composer!
Movie Musicals. The music from musicals of the 1940s and 1950s is very important to Jane and Mrs. Lukashenko—they sing and tap dance at the least suggestion. We provide three suggestions for watching these movies.
Music Competition (Fiction). There are a number of excellent books about young people preparing for, and playing in, music competitions!
Music in Middle Grade Books. And more novels in which music is an important part of the plot.
Neighborhood Books. We suggest books in which the people and places of a neighborhood are integral to the plot of a book. Perhaps you’ll find your favorites.
Tap Dancing. Who can resist a good tap dance? Another strong plot point, we suggest books and videos to share with your students.
Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.