Pick A Pumpkin: meet children’s picture book poet Patricia Toht

[Poetry Friday is collected by Carol who savors summer this week. Go, see at her “Linky” page.]

. . . .

Let us write a holiday story, in rhyme. Topic: the much-anticipated October trip to ye olde P.P.

pumpkin/bumpkin/lumpkin        patch/catch/thatch     pick/kick/lick

Er, this isn’t rolling so trippingly off the tongue. Lucky you, Bookseedstudio readers. I asked poet, picture book author & pumpkin patch queen Patricia Toht to join us for Poetry Friday:

“Pick a pumpkin

from the patch

tall and lean

or short and fat”

c. Patricia Toht c. JARVIS
PICK A PUMPKIN

“Vivid orange

ghostly white

or speckled green

might be just right.”

c. Patricia Toht, all right reserved.

c. Patricia Toht
c. JARVIS
PICK A PUMPKIN

Her prancing pumpkin verses romp in a new picture book stuffed with the fall fun of finding a unique vegetable FRUIT. And the sly illustrations (from artist Jarvis, in a second holiday party with Patty after PICK A PINE TREE, both from Walker Books ) are drool-worthy. So, I just had to grill this author:

Q/Bookseedstudio – Will you tell of Halloween costumes you’ve enjoyed wearing – at any age? With your & your hubby’s background did you ever create costumes? What were they like?

PATRICIA TOHT My folks never allowed store-bought costumes, so ours were either sewn by mom or pulled together from the dress-up bin. When I was in middle school, my best friends and I dressed up as three blind mice and a black cat. Random, but we loved it!

My husband has made some amazing costumes for our kids. One year, our son Will went as a garbage can. Straps held the can at shoulder height, “garbage” scraps were hot glued around the edges, and my son wore a pizza box on his head. If he stopped and scrunched down, no one knew it was a costume and not an actual garbage can!

Q/Our family knocks on the Toht Family door at Halloween. What’s in the candy bowl? Is the carved pumpkin scary or goofy or ….? Decorations at the front step?

PATRICIA TOHT Our Halloween candy always includes the family favorites – Nestle Crunch bars, Mounds bars, Malted Milk Balls, and Twizzlers. The pumpkins are usually goofy ones because…well, we’re a pretty goofy family!

We have this amazing motion-detector skull and bones above our front door. When trick-or-treaters approach, it makes a spooky sound and the bones lift to either side so we can hand out candy through the middle. I love it! I hope it never breaks!

Q Other than yours, which I think will become a modern classic of pumpkin festivities, can you mention a title or two that your family enjoyed at Halloween when the kids were young?

PATRICIA TOHT Aw, thanks for saying that, Jan! A few of our family favorites include THE LITTLE OLD LADY WHO WAS NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING by Linda Williams and Megan Lloyd, BORIS AND BELLA by Carolyn Crimi and Gris Grimly, and ROOM ON THE BROOM by Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler. Great books for reading aloud!

Bookseedstudio says: Wonderful selections! Among my favorite Halloween titles I now have yours.  I have often shared these beloveds: Lisa Desimini’s TRICK OR TREAT! SMELL MY FEET, Kathi Appelt’s & Melissa Stewart’s BAT JAMBOREE & a surprise animal for Halloween pages in TRICK-OR TREAT OLD ARMADILLO, from Larry Dane Brimner with art by Dominic Catalano.

Thank you for this lively peek inside your family Halloween traditions, Patty. That garbage can get-up sounds super!

Below, I send everyone away with my best pumpkin pudding (chocolate-pumpkin pudding. . . 🙂 from hot, humid Florida, in lieu of pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies & pumpkin pie. But first . . .

More on author Patricia Toht

How did Patty get into children’s books? Invoices, orders, returns. She created, owned and operated her very own kid lit bookstore. This Never Never Land, in the Chicago region, brought a full calendar of back-to-school, holiday, summer vacation & other story times. Not to mention boxed crates of children’s non-fiction, chapter books, classics, novels, poetry collections, picture storybooks and yes – rhyming picture books.

At one playful point – Jumpin’ Jacks!- Patty added to her sales floor, shiny, fluffy, bouncy, moving products from a closing toy store. After keeping her Never Never Land venture hopping for s e v e n years, change came. The intrusion of big box competitors prompted a shuttering of the Land.  Sniff, sniff.

But, no worries. The play side of the store brought a toy designer into her life, Mr. Toht, the Toht Family’s four wonderful children followed along with a decade of fun living near a real British palace in the UK, while Patty’s husband created and produced in kids’ TV, before returning to the USA. Patty’s hubby has designed such darlings as Lamaze baby toys and kid give-aways for fast-food emporiums. Guess whose kids posed as testers?

Beyond this, I know from Patty’s guidance and support to me with my works, via our mutual online space, Group Blog, this author is like us within Poetry Friday; she is a reading, writing & editing pal who cares deeply about creating the best books for children. And she creates just that.

Here is what Kirkus says about PICK A PUMPKIN, brand-new this season:

“The nearly flawless rhythm of the text is a pleasure to read and will likely become a favorite…Enchanting.”

Author Patricia Toht   

JARVIS, artist 

PICK A PUMPKIN at Alphabet Soup!

Group Blog

What is Poetry Friday?   

I am a recipe renegade, so add ingredients into blender in amounts you think are good. Taste after the big swirl. Adjust flavors. CHILL!

 

…enroute to chocolate-pumpkin pudding bliss . . .

 

( I am posting early due to some important family events at Poetry Friday time. I appreciate your comments & may be delayed a bit in adding them.)

Update:  7 Oct 2019  Groovy photo – Patty’s PICK A PUMPKIN featured on the Halloween table at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cleveland. I was occupied with kidney surgery routine check ups & first-time thyroid tests last week- dear friends, all is well!! My joy was amplified when after that squee! news, ambling around the Cleveland Clinic campus, I was wowed by surprise – a stand-up book party with my talented pal prominent. (See who in the book world keeps Patricia Toht company?  🙂

29 thoughts on “Pick A Pumpkin: meet children’s picture book poet Patricia Toht

  1. Your posts are always so full of energy, Jan! Love hearing about Patricia Toht’s book and her Halloween traditions (love the motion-sensor skull and bones for handing out candy through the middle!).

    Like

  2. Thanks for introducing Patricia and her new book, Jan! Definitely falls into the “treat” category. (Homemade Halloween costumes are definitely the BEST.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for introducing Patricia and her new book. It looks delightful! I’ve been lucky enough to be married to an avid gardener so we had our own pumpkin patch!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This time of year brings many happy memories, & I love reading about Patricia’s new book, Jan, quite apt for here in Denver that seems to hold many ‘patch’ festivals. My youngest granddaughter is the supreme lover of pumpkin pie & pumpkin “anything” really. She will adore this book! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hooray for pumpkins in this new book–and I am a recipe renegade too! Some flavors just go together or need to and they find their way in my kitchen. Prancing pumpkin verses…ha! Love the idea of this book and the verses share. Jan, I look forward to your return. Family is the most–tend them well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Halloween has always been a revered topic and event in our house. When my mother was alive she created the most charming costumes for my children and our miniature house like the master one was frequented by children of all ages, dressed in their best pumpkin patch outfits. I think Patty’s book would be a hit to any children’s get together and I am sure my granddaughter (2 years old) would love the rhyme and the brilliant-colored illustrations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi dear Carol, I apologize for the later posting of your wonderful comment. I don’t know what happened but a couple fabulous remarks weren’t added in real time. Will do better next time! I love knowing this about the costumes your mother made for the kids & these miniature house tradition.

      Like

  7. Looks like a charming trip to the pumpkin patch!
    I like the idea of passing candy out between moving bones (although I might have been too scared as a child to come take them and would have sent a representative to get them for me, ha!).
    I’m sorry about the shuttering of Never Land. We need more magical places! Glad they landed on their feet and are making more magic wherever they go 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi dear Tabatha. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to visit Patty at her Never Never Land? I’m always hopeful that the next indy bookstore, especially an independent children’s bookstore/toy shop is just around the corner, down the street, especially here in Florida where so many retirees are always on the look out for great items to send out of state to their grands. I apologize for the late posting of this super comment.

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