The Magic Pumpkin

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Owen is five and a half, and his brother, Oliver, just turned three. They live in a magical land where the four seasons each have their own space. Winterland is always full of snow; Autumnland has beautiful leaves that never stop falling. Springland has endless blossoms, and Summerland, full of exciting plants and rolling green hills, has their cave. This cave, made of glowing rock, protects the children from the only danger in this land – shadow eyes. During the day, the boys fly around on their magic pumpkin, playing in all the lands. Each night, the pumpkin returns them to the safety of their cave. While they do miss Mommy and Daddy, this life is mostly perfect, until they are attacked by vicious beasts.

Right after the horrifying attack, Palus pauses the action to explain how Owen and Oliver came to be in this magical land and why they can never leave. Their first few days of exploring are action-packed and emotionally intense. The story of these days neatly explains things mentioned in the first part, such as why the docile, grazing creatures are called cow-pies and why the boys are so afraid of the shadow eyes (which are one of the scariest monsters that I have ever encountered in fiction). Also, knowing that the boys are currently in peril brings a poignant sadness to the middle section that nicely mirrors their tragic backstory.

Palus writes about the children protagonists in such a way that their innocence and naïveté is part of the story. The joy of childhood and the unutterable sadness of its end come to vivid life as the story follows both the physical and psychological journeys of these children. Palus’s prose is beautiful, as are the striking descriptions of the boys’ newfound home.

Though it does take awhile to get going, The Magic Pumpkin is a lovely tale of growing up and of the love that these two brothers share. Read this one with an open imagination and a box of tissues.

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Star Count 4.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 316 pages
Publisher iUniverse
Publish Date 11-Jan-2013
ISBN 9781475970487 Buy this Book
Issue July 2013
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy


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