Giant pumpkins, Bach and his cello suites, musicals, kintsugi, tap dancing, Charlotte’s Web, and the Minnesota State Fair. What do all these things have in common? You’ll find them all in the pages of Minnesota author Melanie Heuiser Hill’s debut novel, Giant Pumpkin Suite!
Rose and Thomas are twins, but you’d never guess it. At twelve years old, Rose is 17 inches taller than her twin. She loves reading, most especially Charlotte’s Web, and is a math whiz, taking classes at the university. Thomas is good at figuring out how things go together, hates reading, and never passed his multiplication tables. Rose prefers to stay inside, while Thomas is always running and jumping from place to place. They’re not even in the same grade at school – Thomas was held back a year, and Rose skipped ahead.
Rose is also an incredibly gifted cellist. Fiercely focused, she has her heart set on winning the Bach Cello Suites Competition in a few weeks. The prize? The winner will be awarded a fellowship with Maestro Harris Waldenstein, a renowned Bach scholar and cellist. Rose loves Bach – the order, the complexity, the math jokes and puzzles hidden in his music, the loveliness and the cleverness of it all – and she just knows she is meant to win the cello suites competition.
But when Rose and Thomas’s next door neighbor Mr. Pickering has an accident that leaves them temporarily in charge of a giant pumpkin seed, Rose’s summer begins to change. As Thomas helps Mr. Pickering with his pumpkin project, the borders of their lives begin to expand just like the fast-growing leaves of the giant pumpkin in their neighbor’s back yard. At first, Rose isn’t too sure how she feels about all this extra pumpkin stuff going on, especially since it isn’t long before the whole neighborhood seems to be trooping through Rose’s life just as aggressively as the the pumpkin is vining. But when another accident changes everything for Rose, it might just be the pumpkin project that helps her grow into who she’s meant to be.
Books and music are my two most favorite things in the world, and this novel has everything that makes my heart hum with happiness. Family, friends, and neighbors all come together to make Rose’s journey not just a solo story, but a whole symphony of voices telling a tale sure to make you smile, laugh, cry, and, when you’re done, hug the book and download some Bach to play to your plants. Don’t miss it!