Sophie's Squash is a picture book by Pat Zietlow Miller about loyalty, presented in a quirky, entertaining manner. When Sophie's chooses a squash at the farmer's market one late fall, her parents expect that the squash will become dinner. They do not expect that the squash will become Sophie's new best friend. But Sophie has other ideas.
This is all told totally deadpan. Like this:
"When it was time to make supper, Sophie's mother looked at the squash. She looked at Sophie." (The squash has a marker-drawn face at this point)
"I call her Bernice," Sophie said.
"I'll call for a pizza," said her mother.
Despite her parents' best efforts to interest her in other toys, despite the mockery of other children, Sophie remains loyal to Bernice. And when Bernice, inevitably, starts to rot, Sophie comes up with a perfect solution (on her own, I might add). Not to worry - love triumphs over all.
I like the wry reactions of Sophie's parents:
"Well, we did hope she'd love vegetables," Sophie's mother told her father.
And I love Sophie's loyalty, her deafness to criticism. After some kids point and stare during a library visit, Sophie's mom suggests that she stay home next time. Sophie asks: "Why? She wasn't the one being rude." Indeed.
This book has a similar plot line to The Wheat Doll by Alison Randall,reviewed here. It has the same warmth, but a much lighter, more humorous tone. Sophie's Squash would also pair well with Bob Staake's Mary Had A Little Lamp, reviewed here.
Anne Wilsdorf's watercolor and ink illustrations are perfect for the story. Bernice is, well, a squash with a face, but she looks lovable. Sophie is frequently belligerent-looking, with annoyed eyebrows, and pigtails that stick up in the air. She's the tiniest bit cartoonish, but her home is cozy and ordinary. And her joy, at the end of the book, simply glows from the page.
Sophie's Squash conveys a strong message about loyalty and love, but the message is delivered completely within the context of the story. Sophie is a solid character, one who kids will be able to relate to (boys or girls). While Sophie's Squash, with its foliage-strewn cover, is a natural fit for fall, I expect it to be read year-round in my household. [In fact, I was scarcely able to review it, because my three-year-old, after asking me to stop mid-review to read it to her, wanted to take the book with her when she left. I had to promise to read it again later.] Highly recommended.
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (@RandomHouseKids)
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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