Sophie’s Squash: A second look at a gem of a picture book.

Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf. Schwartz & Wade. New York, NY, 2013.  Sophie's Squash

Ok. I have to admit I love squash. And I enjoy gardening. But even dyed in the wool vegetable haters will be captivated by Sophie and her squash friend, Bernice. Sophie and her parents go to the farm market one day and pick out a perfect butternut squash. “Her parents planned to serve it for supper, but Sophie had other ideas.” It turns out that the squash was “…just the right size to hold in her arms…bounce on her knee” and “to love.”  So Sophie draws a face on the squash and wraps it in a blanket.  When suppertime comes Sophie tells her mom, “I call her Bernice.” Mom decides on pizza.

This delightful book follows Sophie and Bernice as they go to the library, do somersaults and visit other squash at the farm market.  Every night she gives “…Bernice a bottle, a hug, and a kiss.” Her parents console themselves:  “Well, we did hope she’d love vegetables.”

But the life of a squash is short-lived. Inevitably, they become mushy. The way in which  Zietlow Miller leads Sophie to come to learn about the life cycle of a vegetable is endearing. Wilsdorf’s evocative watercolor and ink illustrations beautifully contribute to the satisfying resolution of Bernice’s life.  Finally, Sophie’s Squash is not just a sweet little story, but an avenue into a conversation about the circle of life itself.

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