The first two quarters of 2019 has produced some remarkable children’s books. One author that made a mark this year is the Oklahoma-native Curtis Booher. In less than a year, Booher produced two children’s book- The Pumpkin Patch and The Circus has Left. ReadersMagnet Reviews takes a closer look at these beautiful narrative and the inspiration behind Curtis Booher’s success.
The Pumpkin Patch Party (2018)
In October of 2018, Curtis Booher made a breakthrough in his storytelling career by producing Pumpkin Patch Party. It’s a simple story of a farmer who returned dead tired from a day’s work on the farm. So tired, fell asleep farmer and had a nightmare where the pumpkins in his patch started turning into live little monsters. Witches, headless skeletons, ghost, vampires, and other scary characters turned up and started a party. The farmer got so scared that he started running for his dear life. He was then awoken by a loud knock on his door. To his pleasant surprise, it was a party of kids doing treat or treat. The story ended with the farmer getting a sigh of relief.
The Pumpkin Patch Party is a unique narrative in the sense that scary children’s story hardly come by. In the past, most of these arcs are monopolized under fairy tales, mostly by Brothers Grimm. What Curtis Booher offers his readers is a children’s story based on the life of an ordinary individual- in this case, a farmer. The farmer is a character that everyone can identify. The farm or the pumpkin patch is a place most of us have seen or at least know that it’s a real place. Curtis successfully transforms these ordinary elements (farm, wagon, pumpkins, scarecrow, etc.) into components of a scary yet very funny children’s story. More importantly, the use of a dream or a nightmare as a setting is something all readers can relate to. I mean, who hasn’t experienced a scary but silly dream?
The Circus Has Left (2019)
From a silly Halloween-theme story, Curtis moves to a bittersweet story in The Circus Has Left Town. Told from a child’s perspective, the story is about a traveling circus and the people that work inside the circus. Curtis begins by describing to us how a circus is set up:
“After long weeks of anxious waiting, the circus finally
rolled into town, We watched as elephants raised the big top, and men with sledgehammers staked it to the ground.”
He then does a roll call of all the characters working in the circus. From the plump ringmaster to the sword-eating acrobat, the tightrope dancer, the lion trainer, the juggler, elephants, jugglers, and other workers, the POV character narrates as well the atmosphere and thrill of being inside the circus. Booher’s 2nd book ends with the sad realization that the circus has ended and it is now going to another place.
While The Circus Has Left Town ends with a sad tone, it is still a great read for children. The vivid description of the circus and the characters that make it a happy atmosphere are successfully portrayed both in texts and in the book’s illustrations. In this aspect alone, Curtis draws the interest of young readers. As of this year, The Circus Has Left Town is one of the stories that are currently on the list of ReadersMagnet’s 2019 rooster of children’s illustrated books that are doing good.
When we examine these two works by Curtis Booher, we immediately think that his inspirations are drawn from his happy childhood. And somehow this much is true. As a young kid, Curtis was an avid listener of his father’s stories both true and imagined. At age five, Curtis began weaving his own stories. Most of these stories are about hunting and fishing adventures. Most of these stories also feature an imaginary grandpa and other family members. To this day, Curtis Booher credits his dad for all the stories during his childhood. These stories play an integral part in the narrative that he has written including these two above.