Peter Rabbit and the Pumpkin Patch

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Peter Rabbit and the Pumpkin Patch Book Poster Image
Beloved rabbits return in comforting Halloween tale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Young children will learn what vegetables rabbits like to eat and how bunnies can cause mischief in a garden.

Positive Messages
Mrs. Rabbit is gentle and understanding, letting Peter learn from his mistake. When he returns home, instead of scolding him she lets him enjoy the Halloween festivities and the comfort of home.
 
Positive Role Models & Representations
Mrs. Rabbit lets Peter learn from his mistake without piling on guilt or punishment. Instead, she lets him enjoy the party that began while he was out. As Peter grows more frightened, his conscience nags at him. His sisters are well-behaved and stay safe at home, enjoying the whole party.
 
Violence & Scariness
The nighttime setting is just spooky enough to provide some tension, but it shouldn't scare little ones. The illustrations are reassuring. There are brief references to real peril -- owls and cats, in particular -- but nothing threatens the rabbits' safety. 
 
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Peter Rabbit and his cousin Benjamin Bunny once again sneak into Mr. McGregor's garden in Peter Rabbit and the Pumpkin Patch, a Halloween-themed story based on the late Beatrix Potter's enduring characters. Peter hopes to avoid getting into trouble with his mother, and the observant Mrs. Rabbit suspects he's already learned his lesson (and he did).
 

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What's the story?

Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny are eager to sample the pumpkins and parsnips in Mr. McGregor's garden. The pair sneak out in the night to enjoy the fall harvest. But Peter's skittish: He's worried about owls, spooked by a looming scarecrow, startled by a cat in a window. When a gust of wind knocks over garden tools with a thump and a crash, Peter bolts for home with Benjamin on his heels. They slip back into Peter's house to find Mrs. Rabbit hosting a festive Halloween party. She can tell Peter has been up to some mischief but thinks he's learned his lesson and doesn't need further discipline. So the bunnies are free to enjoy creamy boiled pumpkin in the comfort of home.

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Is it any good?

PETER RABBIT AND THE PUMPKIN PATCH is a gentle Halloween treat that preserves the spirit of Beatrix Potter's much-loved original tale. The shivery parts are rooted in real-world frights -- scary sounds and shadows in the dark -- that resonate with little ones. At the story's end, the rabbits' home glows warmly and brightly, enfolding Peter and Benjamin with comfort and understanding.
 
The illustrations serve the story well enough, honoring Potter's style although lacking her charm. The subdued palette and quiet tone of the story won't engage all readers, but children who appreciate this style of storytelling or are already familiar with Peter Rabbit will enjoy it. It's a lovely read before they venture out for trick-or-treating.
 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the consequences of Peter's behavior. Do you think he learned his lesson?
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  • Peter's frightened of things that prove harmless: the spooky shape is just a scarecrow, the cat is safely indoors, the startling noise is just the wind. What familiar things in your home seem scarier at night?
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  • Talk about which vegetables are in season in the fall and which ones are your favorites. Try cooking your own pumpkin and roasting the seeds.
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