It's just something she has to do.
Mildred has always dreamed of growing a one-thousand-pound pumpkin to enter in her town's Pumpkin Show. Her aunt Arlene thinks she's obsessed, but Mildred prefers to think of herself as focused. And growing giant pumpkins is way more interesting than boys or clothes or the other girly things Aunt Arlene wants her to like. She's been trying for four long growing seasons -- ever since her mama died -- and every one has ended in disaster. It's not easy, especially with dogs who don't realize how delicate seedlings are, and tornadoes that could destroy months of work, and most people thinking that an eleven-year-old doesn't stand a chance. But Daddy believes in Mildred, and so does her best friend, Jacob. Maybe this will finally be her year.
“The author combines the art and science of horticulture with a gentle family story, a feel for a child in mourning, and just the right amount of humor and tension...” -- School Library Journal
"Told in a first-person narrative, this novel offers a step-by-step, detailed explanation of how to grow giant pumpkins. Fortunately, there is more: Mildred's prickly relationship with her aunt; her satisfying bond with her veterinarian father (a rather graphic description of a calve's birthing is included); and a little about her friendship with other kids.... Kennedy's straightforward narrative [is] as solid and unadorned as a pumpkin, yet lovely in its own way." -- Booklist