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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The House on the Pumpkin Farm by Sarah Shadi blends magic, pumpkins, and friendship into a whimsical adventure. Lily never imagined when she went to visit her cousins that the pumpkin farm would take her on the journey of a lifetime. All she wanted was to have an epic Halloween weekend, but that doesn’t seem possible when a girl in her class failed to invite Lily to her party. She’s always dreamed of living in a house with a garden and trees but never expected to get a real opportunity to have that. When she arrives, her biggest worry is whether she’d get along with her cousins, but then she discovers magic, sending her on an adventure with mysterious creatures, monsters, and new friends.
Lily is a genuine character who has a simple wish - to have a memorable Halloween. She’s crafted as a real character with relatable traits such as separation anxiety, nervousness about staying with her cousins, and the slight envy she feels toward Alice. The envy is rooted in what Alice has (pets, spacious house, siblings) and what she doesn’t have. The story opens as Lily and her mother see several pumpkins being delivered which also sets up the lighthearted tone and the whimsy that Sarah Shadi puts into her writing. The simple premise slowly becomes an epic adventure as she discovers the unique properties that the farm possesses. The plot incorporates various moments of adventure such as scarecrows coming to life. Shadi uses obstacles that create problems for Lily and her friends to solve. These results in zany situations that children will enjoy and find amusing. Many moments feel childlike such as becoming invisible, finding an emerald, and eating grapes. An assortment of characters is introduced throughout such as Music Head and a divo without a name with each serving a purpose in Lily’s adventure. Genuinely funny, The House on the Pumpkin Farm is charming, a story that children will thoroughly enjoy reading.