How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
Rattlebone Rock

The Vanishing Pumpkin

by Tony Johnston
illustrated by Tomie dePaola

The Vanishing Pumpkin is cumulative story filled with interesting Halloween characters who all have a taste for pumpkin, if they could only discover where it went! Not at all scary, but full of Halloween magic and Tomie dePaola's folksy illustrations, this is a book the ghosts and goblins of all ages will enjoy for Halloweens to come. 

In this Issue


Homemade Model Magic Pumpkin Creations

Homemade Model Magic and Pumpkin Creations - The Vanishing Pumpkin - Off the Shelf

Homemade Model Magic and Pumpkin Creations - The Vanishing Pumpkin - Off the Shelf

While this is a great material to use to create anything you want, we thought it was perfect for making pumpkins and pies to go along with The Vanishing Pumpkin

Homemade Model Magic

from Southern as Biscuits.


  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  1. Combine ingredients in a medium pot and stir until smooth. 
  2. Place pot over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture is the texture of mashed potatoes. 
  3. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let cool completely.
  4. Knead dough until smooth, sprinkling the work surface with cornstarch if necessary. 
  5. Once creations are complete, let air dry 24-48 hours before painting. 

Pumpkin Creations

We decided to make pumpkins a pies and pumpkins, but your young reader may decide to make the ghoul, the wizard, or other things from the book. The fun of this activity is letting the imagination go!


Pumpkin Science

We love this seasonal science activity from Growing in Pre-K that is sure to capture young readers' imaginations. Ask your young reader what they think will happen when you cut the top off a pie pumpkin and simply pour in some soil and water.


Pre-K Fire Safety 2010 001
photo from Growing in Pre-K


Creative Movement

Bring the story of The Vanishing Pumpkin to life by reading the book and using these creative movement prompts to make it an action story. Your young reader may even come up with a few of his or her own to go along with this fun Halloween book. 

  • Rock by the fire like an 800-year-old man or a 700-year-old woman
  • Look for the pumpkin, first like a ghoul, then like a rapscallion.
  • Pick mushrooms like a rapscallion. 
  • Hang on a tree limb like a varmit.
  • Scratch fleas like a black cat. 
  • Rock like a 900-year-old wizard. 
  • Grin like a jack-o'-lantern. 
  • Look for pumpkin pie like the wizard. 
  • Flap like a bat.
  • Gobble pumpkin pie.
  • Roll like a pumpkin. 


Mini Pumpkin Jack-o'-lantern Pies with Gingersnap Crust

Mini Pumpkin Jack-o'-lantern Pies with Gingersnap Crust - The Vanishing Pumpkin - Off the Shelf

 Like our Apple Hand Pies, not only are these mini pumpkin pies kid-sized portions, the recipe allows for young readers to do a lot of pressing, stirring, and pouring. And perhaps best of all is adding chocolate chip jack-o'lantern faces! 

Mini Pumpkin Pies with Gingersnap Crust


  • 2 cups gingersnap crumbs, about 30 cookies
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil or melted butter
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 12 ounce can fat free evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  1. Lightly spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Place gingersnaps in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add oil or butter and brown sugar and process until combined. 
  3. Place about 2 tablespoons crust mixture in each muffin well and press into bottom and up sides. 
  4. Combine remaining ingredients except chocolate chips in a bowl (one with a pouring spout works especially well). Pour filling into prepared crusts. 
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for 18-20 more minutes. 
  6. Let cool completely. Use regular and mini chocolate chips to make jack-o'-lantern faces. 


Off the Shelf Shop: Felt Pumpkins

With a Halloween and handmade twist on Mr. Potato Head, this Build-a-Pumpkin Game with have young readers creating for hours! 


Look who's hiding in a pumpkin... it's the cutest little mouse you ever did see! This 100% wool mouse in pumpkin toy is needle felted and perfect for little hands. 


Perfect for imaginative pretend play, and a great prop for acting out many books, this felt pumpkin pie slice is so sweet you'll want more than one!


Instead of carving a pumpkin into pieces, put one back together with this cute Felt Pumpkin Puzzle.

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