The Pumpkin Eater from Pondicherry, by Bruce Atherton

One night when I was lying in my
warm and cosy bed,
a shadow at the window stood
the hair up on my head.

I grabbed my biggest teddy bear
and lifted up the blind,
and what I saw was so unreal
it nearly blew my mind.

The strangest things appear at night. One night, outside the window of the small child main character, a shadow appears. The shadow belongs to a pumpkin eater from Pondicherry. But this greedy guts is a gourmand and will eat just about anything in Grandad’s garden on his way to the pumpkins. The small child decides that will not do. He/she challenges the pumpkin eater, but the pumpkin eater is determined to eat pumpkin, even if that means eating the child first. Undaunted, the child hatches a plan to beat the pumpkin eater at his greedy game. There are bios on the back page with the imprint details.

The Pumpkin Eater from Pondicherry is a delightful piece of nonsense. Small children often experience fears about strange and mysterious night noises. Atherton gives the mystery a shape and a purpose and the child some tools to banish the monster. The monster is ghoulishly grotesque and the child brave and resourceful. The rhyming text keeps the tone light, balancing Ben Redlich’s sometimes dark images. Spreads are saturated with colour with text in red, white or black to ensure ease of reading. The monster grows larger and more ugly until the child’s solution reduces him back to manageable size. Romping good fun. Recommended for early primary aged readers.

The Pumpkin Eater from Pondicherry, by Bruce Atherton, Ill Ben Redlich
Lothian 2008
ISBN: 9780734410238