Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Pumpkin Blanket

The Pumpkin Blanket by Deborah Turney Zagwyn is a favourite of mine for fall classroom read alouds.
It is the story of Clee who receives a quilted blanket as a baby gift. It becomes her special blanket as she grows up and readers are treated to views of her through the seasons as she enjoys it as she plays and draws comfort from it. 

As Clee approaches school age she helps her father in the garden and especially enjoys the pumpkin patch. When frosty fall weather threatens the pumpkins Clee gives up her cherished blanket square by square to protect the pumpkins from freezing. 
This story with its beautifully evocative illustrations conjures up powerful images of growing up and letting go. It is a wonderful text for making personal connections and mental images. You can almost FEEL the chill in the air. It also provides a great opportunity for a discussion on sharing and giving. 
I love the mysterious mood that Zagwyn evokes in this book. If you haven't read this story before I highly recommend it. (Be prepared to get a little choked up, especially if you have kids of your own....).
After reading this book I often give the kids a piece of drawing paper and have them design their own quilt square.  Then I put them all together in a hall display. 
Because this story has such wonderful imagery it is good for launching a fall poem. I use this form to get them started. 

Click here to get a copy. Sometimes we just do this and not write a poem - depends on the age and ability of the class. The poem makes a good choice for Work on Writing for individual students even if the whole class isn't writing their own. 

For reluctant or emergent writers I provide a set of cards to help them be successful. Last year I had a little fellow in my class who was refusing to write anything. With the support of these cards he finished the form above with one adjective for each noun and went on to write a basic "Fall Is...." poem. Click here to see the cards in my TpT store. They're free until Saturday. 

I made the pumpkin frame and several other writing papers and they're free too. Click here to get them. 

It's a little late in the week for Mentor Text Monday, but I'm linking up with Emily from The Reading Tutor OG anyway. Better late than never, right?  To see more pumpkin themed books click here.


  1. This book's illustrations are exquisite! I have to get a copy ASAP! Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas. I love doing quilt squares as a culminating activity. Have a great weekend and thank you so much for linking up!
    Emily, The Reading Tutor/OG

  2. Debbie, I love this book! It's one of my all time favourites. We always do a painted quilt to go with it. Glad you highlighted it!