Posted in picture books

A pumpkin’s odyssey From Dark to Light

From Dark to Light, by Isabella Murphy, (Oct. 2017, Pink Umbrella Books), $9.99, ISBN: 9780998516226

Ages 4-8

Pumpker is a small, white pumpkin seed, dropped into the earth by a farmer’s wife, along with his two sister seeds, Plumpalicious and Plumpilina. Pumpker has a little more anxiety over being underground, and feels like a third wheel among his sisters. He just wants to grow into a big, beautiful pumpkin already, and be adopted by a family that will love him. Luckily, he gets his wish: right before Halloween, he and his sisters are chosen by a family and brought home, where Dad turns them into jack-o-lanterns! As the young daughter sits outside with her jack-o-lanterns at the end of the day, Pumpker glows with joy.

Written when the author was in fifth grade, From Dark to Light is a sweet story of home. Pumpker narrates the story, and brings up moments that kids may find familiar: not fitting in and wanting to just grow up already being two of the big ones. From Dark to Light can be read as an adoption story; it can be read as a story about facing fears and growing up, and it can be read as a fun Halloween story about a pumpkin who finds his perfect family. Isabella Murphy’s gift with words gives readers a likable, sympathetic character that finds a forever home. Natalia Pérez’s artwork has a funky spin; Mrs. Smith doesn’t look like your run-of-the mill farmer’s wife, decked out in a colorful, angular minidress, orange boots, and rocking a grey beehive; Pumpker and his sisters have friendly facial expressions even before they get their Halloween makeover.

From Dark to Light is a sweet story from an on-the-rise young author. It’s a nice additional purchase for collections, and a good gift idea to inspire the young writers in your life.

Author Isabella Murphy’s webpage includes interviews, links to social media, and her blog.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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