Pumpkin This and Pumpkin That

By Fern Hallman M.Ln

I thought I was so clever. Shortly after the recent death of author Winston Groom, I started to work on my next assignment, which you are now reading. I found myself chanting in Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump voice: "Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Pumpkin Carving, Pumpkin Costumes, Pumpkin Story Hour via Zoom…"

As always, the Internet was way ahead of me.

So too was America’s national marketing machine. This year, Starbucks announced the earliest ever return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte on August 25. This popular seasonal drink is now in its 17th year. If you think about it, that means that today’s kids have never known a world without the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Would you like a Pumpkin Cream Cheese muffin with that? Or perhaps a Pumpkin Spice Scone?

One new offering really confounded me. Kraft has announced their latest offering, Pumpkin Spice Mac and Cheese. Apparently you had to enter a contest to get it. I only have one question about this, and the question is: WHY? OK, I have another question: Do you have to sprinkle it with the cinnamon topping that is included? This work of marketing genius is part of a plan to present mac and cheese as a potential breakfast food. If you live in the South, as I do, you already know that mac and cheese is really a vegetable.

If you are REALLY interested in pumpkins, there is a full-fledged history available from the University of Washington Press. It’s a little dated, but really, how much have things changed in the pumpkin world over the past few years? The book in question was published in 2012, which was at least eight years after the aforementioned Pumpkin Spice Latte burst on the scene. If you are a little less interested, here’s a link to some awesome pumpkin trivia and everything else you might need, compiled by the Farmer’s Almanac folks.

What does this all mean for your library? I’ve discovered that there are more pumpkin-related books than you might have imagined. Besides the many cookbooks and craft books, there are lots of pumpkin tales for all ages. For the littlest ones, there is a plethora of board books, picture books, and easy readers. One classic tale of the season is still available: It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Maybe everyone can dress up like pumpkins. Here’s a fashion tip from Scruffy (I don’t usually make him wear the hat).

In addition to advice on growing and cooking and carving and decorating, there are a few pumpkin-related titles you may have forgotten. How about "Smashing Pumpkins' Greatest Hits"? OK, maybe not. But did you know there are a few adult fiction titles in the pumpkin genre? Who could resist a tale such as "Pumpkin Spice Peril"? Enjoy all of this and more in our special selection list here.