Tasha Tuesday: Pumpkin Moonshine

    Hello and happy Tasha Tuesday! The day of the week where I like to give a nod to one of my favorite illustrators and writers, Tasha Tudor.
    Since we’re well into the loveliness of October and the trees are turning and the pumpkins are coming out, I thought it would be fun to give a shout-out to Tasha’s first children’s book, Pumpkin Moonshine. This little book was first published in 1938 after a lot of persistence and pavement pounding by Tasha herself. As the story goes, she brought the little story, which she’d originally made as a gift for her niece to about every publisher in New York and was turned away everywhere she went. She was told her illustrations look like they came out of a flower catalog. But she finally found one editor who was willing to take a chance on her, and thus a career spanning seven decades was born! 

       I find that little story encouraging, because it’s easy to assume that people who are successful have always had an easy time of getting their work out there and appreciated. When you’re working hard and seemingly nothing is happening, it can be really discouraging. But everyone has those moments— the only difference it seems is that those who succeed never give up.

    Of course another wonderful thing about Pumpkin Moonshine, aside from it being Tasha’s first book, is the wonderful old fashioned illustrations. The book is small and the illustrations are small and simple, but full of charming detail and warm autumn colors. It’s very interesting to look at this first book and compare it to Tasha’s work through the decades. You can really see how she started to master her craft, add depth and demension to her scenes and more realism. The illustrations in Pumpkin Moonshine seem rather ‘of the time’ and the main character, Sylvie Ann has sort of a “Little Orphan Annie” look to her (although the eyes aren’t as creepy, lol) but looking at this first volume, I can really appreciate how Tasha evolved into her own style through the years after publishing this story. 

   It’s amazing to think that this book has been a favorite of several generations now— it was published when my own grandparents were just kids! I wonder if they ever saw it? And I love the old fashioned term “pumpkin moonshine” for a jack o’lantern.

   Do you have any favorite autumn or Halloween children’s books? Something that you loved as a child, or something your own children enjoy? I’d love to hear about it! And maybe some day, I’ll write and illustrate one of my own!~


6 thoughts on “Tasha Tuesday: Pumpkin Moonshine

  1. I did not know the story of rejection that Tasha experienced trying to get this book off of the ground. You are so right that sometimes it just seems like you are going nowhere and then all of a sudden you break through. I love this story and have small inexpensive paperback copy. The water colors are so charming and the term Pumpkin Moonshine was totally new to me too. I think you should write and illustrate a Halloween story. That would be fabulous!!!


  2. I, too, love Pumpkin Moonshine – and just pulled my copy out today, as a matter of fact. I agree with Winnie – you would be wonderful at writing and illustrating a children's Halloween tale. 🙂 There are so many that I love…it's hard to narrow it just one!


  3. I love Georgie the Ghost stories…and Georgie's Halloween is perfect for children (and grown ups!) this time of year. I've been a fan of Tasha Tudor's for about 20 years- I love her illustrations.


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