Picnic at Mudsock Meadow

by Patricia Polacco

Paperback, 1995


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Call number

E Po


A Trumpet Club Special Edition (1995), Paperback, 32 pages


Having failed to win the pumpkin-carving, pie-eating, and seed-spitting contests, William hopes to impress Hester by winning the Dress-Up Competition.

Local notes


User reviews

LibraryThing member Molly2Faith
This is a cute Halloween story about a class who is scared of the ghost of Titus Dinworthy. While the town was having their Halloween picnic, William just couldn't seem to get things right. He couldn't carve a good pumpkin, he got his fishing line stuck with Hesters', he swallowed his seed for the
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seed spitting competition, he fell during tug-of-war and, his costume was just an old white sheet for a ghost. Hester (a girl in his class) made fun of William for everything. William always tried to show her up until that night when William had his final chance. William knew that there was no ghost and that it was just swamp gas that he learned about in science class. While everyone went running away from it, William dove into it and the light was gone and his ghost costume was now covered in swamp gas. William ended up winning the costume award for the best swamp monster.
This book is cute and gives kids hope that even if they are having a bad day, it will turn up. Teachers can also make this book into a lesson about not teasing classmates for the things they do because it can hurt someone's feelings. (8 y/o reading level)
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LibraryThing member amandapfloyd
Hester, William and their friends are headed to the Halloween picnic. William wants to prove to Hester that he is better. He tries to carve a pumpkin but it comes out silly looking. He tangles his fishing line on Hester's. William also swallows his pumpkin seed during the spitting contest. Then
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during the costume competition everyone becomes scared because Quicksand Bottoms begins to gurrble and glow. William goes to investigate but falls in. He discovers there is no monster and wins the costume contest because he glows from the swamp water. Hester ends up calling WIlliam her hero.
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LibraryThing member sjg005
It was the annual Halloween picnic at Grange Hall, and William participated in all the competitions. But Hester, always seemed to beat him one way or another. The last contest was the costume contest, and he was sure Hester was going to win. All of sudden, everyone saw a "ghost" come out of
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Quicksand Bottoms and they went out to the swamp to get a better look. He ran into the light in the swamp to prove it was just swamp gas. He came out of the swamp, glowing, and won the costume contest for best swamp monster. Hester changed her competitive attitude and called William a hero.
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LibraryThing member MalissaLojszczyk
William wants to impress Hester Bledden so she'll stop teasing him. At the Halloween picnic, a series of mishaps cause further embarassment for William until he finally does what no one else can: face down the ghost in the swamp. The ghost turns out to be swamp gas, but William proves his bravery
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and impresses Hester.
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LibraryThing member bsalomon
The Mudsock Meadow children are afraid of the ghost of Titus Dinworthy that supposedly lives in the marsh, but William assures them that there is no ghost. William is teased during the Halloween picnic because he cannot win at any of the activities. When the glow of Titus interrupts the picnic,
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William decides to prove his friends wrong in order to gain some of his dignity back. He discovers that he is right, and wins the costume contest because of it. This is a great book to read to students during Halloween or just for fun. This is a great book because it keeps the children entertained.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
When William attends his town's annual Halloween picnic at Grange Hall, in the middle of Mudsock Meadow, he has every expectation of enjoying himself. But the teasing of Hester Bledden - whose antics, and shouts of "Peeee youuuuu!" every time he is near, undermine William's confidence, and ruin his
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chances in one contest after another - cast a pall over the day. Then the picnickers spy ghostly lights out on Quicksand Bottoms, and are amazed when William sets out to prove, once and for all, that they are not, as long believed, the spirit of Titus Dinworthy, a nineteenth-century miner, but merely swamp gas...

I'm not sure why it is that Picnic at Mudsock Meadow left me so cold, when other picture-books from Patricia Polacco, with similar themes of community and outdoor celebration (The Bee Tree, When Lightning Comes in a Jar) managed to engage my interest, but I simply couldn't work up any enthusiasm for it. I found that I wasn't as sympathetic to William, or invested in his effort to finally prove himself, as I might have expected, and am having trouble pinpointing just why that is. This is one I recommend primarily to determined Polacco fans, who will doubtlessly enjoy the ebullient artwork, but otherwise, it's pretty skippable.
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
William has a huge crush on Hester. Hester, on the other hand, loves to taunt and tease, make fun and somewhat bully him.

When the Halloween picnic at Grange hall occurs, William tries to impress Hester. Sadly, each contest he enters makes him look more foolish in Hester's eyes.

When he decides to
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dive into Quicksand bottom swamp, something others are loathe and fearful to do because of the supposed ghost of Titus Dinworthy, he becomes covered in eerie swamp gas.

Glowing, he wins the prize as Halloween costume prize and the affections of his beloved Hester.

I enjoyed the creativity of this book and smiled at the names given to the characters.

While not one of my favorites, Polacco never ceases to amaze and leave me longing to read more of her delightful tales filled with lovely illustrations.
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Physical description

32 p.; 11 inches


0698114493 / 9780698114494


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