Patricia Toht

Pick A Pumpkin


Pick a pumpkin from the patch-

tall and lean or short and fat.

This lovely book follows a family as they prepare for Halloween. It captures the fun of choosing exactly the right pumpkin before working with friends to create the perfect lantern. Having decorated, they leave the pumpkin to guard their home whilst they have fun trick or treating. Written by Patricia Toht, author of All Aboard The London Bus (review here) shortlisted for our 2017 Poetry Category, it is a real joy!


Perfect for Halloween which will be here all too soon, ‘Pick a Pumpkin’ is wonderful for reading aloud as the rhyming text delights in each activity as the family prepares. The vocabulary is rich, adding to the pleasure of reading out loud. There is nothing scary here, just the excitement of the occasion. Although people in the UK have only more recently used pumpkins for Halloween lanterns, turnips were traditionally used and this could be discussed along with other traditions.


The illustrations are glorious , full of autumnal shades and scenes of family fun. There are lots of details to enjoy and the wonderful glowing pumpkin towards the end of the book could inspire children to create their own illustrations.

‘Pick a Pumpkin’ is simply bewitching!

Pick a Pumpkin Patricia Toht, illustrated by Jarvis

Walker Books ISBN: 978-1406360615

Published 5th September 2019

National Poetry Day 2017

Here at NSTBA HQ we love poetry! And with poetry frequently mentioned in the English programmes of study, there's no excuse for it not to be enjoyed in school!

We had a poetry celebration in school today with each member of my class learning a poem by heart to perform. They loved it- even those who were initially reluctant enjoyed sharing their poem and hearing those others had prepared. Even the adults joined in!

So what better day to remind everyone of the wonderful poetry books which have made their way onto this year's shortlist- each of which could be used in school-or at home- to develop the love of poetry!


The language chosen is rich and varied - and fun!... The poems are set into wonderful illustrations by Sam Usher which capture the vibrant life of London...

 All Aboard The London Bus. Read our review here.


This is a wonderful collection of twenty-six poems about all things space and space related...   Colourful and quirky (Korky Paul's fabulous illustrations), they bring each poem vividly to life! 

A Rocketful of Space Poems. Read our review here.

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This is a collection packed with a wonderful range of poems about some of the amazing women and girls who have helped to shape our world... The three poets responsible for this collection each bring their own voice and style, creating a diverse range of work...

Reaching the Stars. Read our review here.

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This beautiful selection of poems really does include something for everyone... so many things are celebrated between the covers of this book...

A Poem for Every Night of the Year. Read our review here.

The perfect starting point for celebrating National Poetry Day- or any day!

LONGLIST REVIEW: All Aboard the London Bus

What a wonderful way to see all the London sights! Once aboard the bus, there are poems about the changing of the guard, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the London many special places! At the back of the book, there are notes about each of the places the bus visits, giving a little bit of history.

'All Aboard the London Bus' contains an wonderful selection of poems in a range of styles. There is a 'Gallery of Haiku' for The British Museum which could inspire children to create their own haiku about objects that they have studied and also encourage them to find out more about each of the objects in the book. The 'Tate Modern' is told in rhyming couplets with a repeated 'That's art!' after each, making it great for reading aloud and performing as well as being an excellent way into discussing what makes art! 

The language chosen is rich and varied - and fun! Each poem offers something different, but they all offer a consistently high standard of writing. With learning poems by heart and performing poems on the curriculum, this book has some gems to choose from!

The poems are set into wonderful illustrations by Sam Usher which capture the vibrant life of London. I love the people scurrying through the rain at Piccadilly Circus (how many times have I done that?!) and the stage at the Globe- another of my favourite places! 

This is a gem of a book! I can't wait to share it with my class.

All Aboard the London Bus by Patricia Toht, illustrated by Sam Usher

Frances Lincoln     ISBN: 978-1847808578