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The Tale Of The Ugly Pumpkin

An excerpt from the upcoming book for all ages by Chiara "Kiki" Mangiameli.

Once upon a time in a far away field, there was a little pumpkin who was different than the others.

Instead of a bright cheerful orange skin, he had stripes of purple and pink and his underbelly was tinged bright blue. His skin was also strangely fuzzy, almost furry; a far cry from the smooth surface of his normal brothers and sisters. His stem, too, was a little short and wide. But it stood proud on his funny little head and, really, he never knew there was anything wrong with him until the other pumpkins started all the laughing and pointing. "You're not a real pumpkin" they taunted him "REAL pumpkins aren't fuzzy!" "REAL pumpkins don't have weird're nothing but an ugly little pumpkin!"

The little pumpkin held back his pumpkin tears and looked up to the sun with his funny little purple face. "Why do they call me names?" he wondered. "Am I really so ugly?" But the taunting continued. And with each passing day he felt himself growing a little uglier inside, and his fuzzy face no longer looked up to the sun.

Then one day a little girl ran into the field carrying a beat up, eyeless, handmade bunny. The kind of bunny who's seen a thing or two. The little girl marched right up to the pumpkin and said, "I'm Doctor Rose. Sometimes I'm Rosey Posey. But mostly I'm Captain Rose. Those are all the names I am. This is Lucy Bunny. Whass your name?" The little pumpkin was so astonished someone should talk to him that he raised his purple pumpkin face, poking his stem right into the good eye of the upside-down hanging bunny. Captain Rose laughed a big hearty belly laugh and said, "Don't worry. Lucy Bunny is really strong like me. She can fly into space. All the way to the moon, so high! I like space. Do you like space??"

When little pumpkin didn't answer, Captain Rose continued undeterred "do you like donuts? We can go pick some!"

Before he even knew what was coming out of his mouth, the ugly pumpkin blurted out: "go away! I don't like you Captain Rose!"

The little girl didn't earn her title by walking away at the earliest sign of conflict. Captain Rose stood her ground, placed her fists on her hips and, as the daughter of a true Italian mother, said "WHADOYOUWANTOEAT?" It was more of a threat than a question and it got the point across: she was going exactly nowhere.

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