Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lazy Tommy Pumpkinhead

Lazy Tommy Pumpkinhead
by William Pene Du Bois


This is such a trippy little book.  I love many of Du Bois' books, namely Lion.  And the Otto books are quite special too.  But it is Pumpkinhead that takes the cake for most bizarre. 

Pumpkinhead is part of a series, begun but never completed by Du Bois, based on the seven deadly sins.  Pumpkinhead embodies Sloth.

Meet Tommy.

Yep, that's him in the bathtub.  So lazy is Tommy that he lives in an electric house, sleeps in an electric bed (to tilt him out each morning), baths in an electric tub (which sloshes him around),

showers in an electric shower (with belts to hold him upright - musn't strain his legs),

and is groomed by an assortment of robotic arms.
All is fine in Tommy's pampered life, until one night an electrical storm
knocks out the power.  And poor lazy Tommy oversleeps.  By about seven days.  On day seven, power is restored.  And what ensues
can best be described
by these pictures.
And these,
and these.
Up until exactly five minutes ago, for $135, this book could have been yours. (Yes, I did say $135 - the publisher abandoned the series, and these sinful books quickly went out of print.)  But, my four year old son has been watching this blog post unfold, begging to be allowed to take the book into a quiet corner. 
In short, this book now belongs to him.
But you can own these books by Mr. Pene DuBois which are for sale in my etsy shop:
Gentleman Bear
Bear Party


  1. Replies
    1. I loved this as a kid in the 60’s. And it’s just as good today, with the robotic elements. I can’t believe it hasn’t occurred to the publisher to re-issue; it’s clearly a money maker..!

  2. Wonderful post! I haven't read this one, but we have much enjoyed 21 Balloons, Peter Graves, The Great Geppy, Bear Party and The Giant. Fabulous imagination and creativity in all!
    Thanks for linking to my Etsy shop's Lion book:)

  3. That was a favorite book from my childhood too! Too bad it is really not available for purchase!

  4. Thank you SO much for posting images of this book! I loved this book when I was a kid, and was very disappointed to find that it's out of print (do I really want to pay $200 just to get to read it again??). I figured it would be fun for my daughter to see, and also for me to see again. And now we can! Thanks!!!
    (and yes, 21 Balloons is a great book too!)

  5. THANK YOU! I was telling my 6 year old about this book today. I figured I could just get it on amazon but no luck so in the meantime I can at least show her your photos. I just can't bring myself to spend that money for this book, although it's one of the few picture books I still remember from my childhood.

  6. Thank you!!! I have been asking people for years about his book. Of course, not remembering the title but the story. They looked at me like I was crazy.

  7. Loved this book as a child, enough that I remembered it at age 39. THANK YOU!!!

  8. I loved this book as a child. My librarian helped me find in from a far away library even though I thought the name of the book was Crazy Charlie Pumpkinhead. Librarians have superpowers when it comes to books! It was great to hold this book and read it one more time as an adult, even if it was just for 3 weeks. Thank you Debbie in Brecksville!