How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by G. Brian Karas.

Charlie is the smallest kid in his class, always the last in line when they line up by size.  One fall day, his teacher, Mr. Tiffin brings three pumpkins to class and asks how many seeds are in a pumpkin.  The pumpkins are three different sizes and the children guess how many are in them.  Then they break into groups to count the seeds in each pumpkin.  Charlie is the only one who thinks that the smallest one may have the most seeds and is willing to count them on his own.  Each group counts the seeds in different way, by twos, fives or tens.  Charlie as the person counting by tens looks like he has the fewest seeds, but actually the littlest pumpkin has the most!

This book offers both a story of being the smallest and a math lesson in counting by units.  The two elements work very well together and in the story itself.  There is also some information on pumpkins worked into the book.  I always enjoy Karas’ illustrations which are child friendly and somehow remind me of the Peanuts strips.  McNamara has done an admirable job of uniting a story and a math lesson, making both of them interesting.

Share this with older elementary children who are at least in first grade so that the mathematics make sense to them.  It is also a good picture book for children who tend to enjoy nonfiction picture books, because it is full of information.  This is a nice autumnal title free of any witches or Halloween references.