Artists Give the Jack-o'-lantern A Character-Enhancing Tilt

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PLAY WITH YOUR PUMPKINS

By Joost Elffers and Saxton Freymann

Text by Johannes van Dam

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Stewart, Tabori & Chang

$10.95, 80 pp.

Joost Elffers, creator of last year's "Play With Your Food," brings an artist's vision to fall's favorite veggie. He sees the pumpkin's stem not as a hat or handle, as most American pumpkin-carvers do, but as a nose. Then he follows the natural "life lines" to see what personalities emerge. And emerge they do, pages of animated, surprising faces.

This small book is a visual delight, but it doesn't stop there. It also explains the history of pumpkins (once a symbol of the whole world), why Cinderella rode in one, where jack-o'-lanterns came from, and how to make such things as Indian pickled pumpkin and much more. Elffers wants readers to see with a child's eyes, and he hits his mark. You'll be amazed at what you never knew about your local pumpkin patch.

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