The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night

Little, Brown. Sept. 2024. 336p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316572989; mass pap. $8.99. ISBN 9780316572996.
Gr 4-7–A young girl cleverly escapes her orphanage to find a loving stepfather in the Pumpkin King and discover a world she could have never imagined. Bibliophiles will feel and smell the disgusting mud she cakes on her pajamas while trying to escape the orphanage. The girl is eventually saved by the Pumpkin King, who tells her, “You shall come back with me, and I shall adopt you as my own child, where you will be the Pumpkin Princess.” He names her Eve and takes her to his home, Hallowell. Eve’s new home is filled with sinister yet charming characters, such as Ellie, the skeleton seamstress, and her equally bony husband, Franklin. There’s also Vlad the vampire who craves human food, even though it makes him terribly sick. And, when Eve makes friends with a witch named Lyla, she is delighted to have a close friend for the first time in her life. But just as there are kind characters in Hallowell, Eve also discovers not so friendly fare: Evil vampire Baroness La’Ment is intent on getting Eve banished from the undead world. Humor, adventure, and pluck make this an enjoyable read. Relationships and suspense are solid throughout the narrative, and Vlad, Lyla, and Eve’s friendship will especially resonate with young readers.
VERDICT This delightfully chilling romp with a brave and clever orphan is a Halloween tale with heart, that would be a splendid read-aloud at Halloween.

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