Miller, Pat Zietlow. 2013. SOPHIE’S SQUASH. Ill. by Anne Wilsdorf. NY: Schwartz & Wade. ISBN 9780307978967. [Suggested Grade Levels PK – 2]
This charming picture book explores the way small children become attached to things. Sophie bonds with a squash from the farmer’s market and names it Bernice before her parents can even make plans for a meal. The bond between girl and squash keeps Bernice off the dinner table as Sophie discovers Bernice is just the right size to hold and bounce. “Good friends,” proclaims the child “are hard to find.” Her parents warn that the squash will rot, but Sophie insists that Bernice will last forever. When the squash eventually becomes soft and blotchy, Sophie knows there is a problem. She learns from the farmer at the market that the recipe for a healthy squash is fresh air, good clean dirt, and a little love. The revelation prompts Sophie to make a bed of soft soil, tuck Bernice in, and kiss her goodnight. The tale concludes as the seasons run their course. Sophie acquires a goldfish named Ace and welcomes two new squash in the spring that look just like their mom.
Ink and watercolor illustrations capture the fun and ferociously stubborn Sophie and beautiful amplify the science lesson implicit in the passing seasons and the growth and development of a squash plant. Like CHARLOTTE’S WEB, this story gives young readers an opportunity to reflect on life cycles. This vegetarian picture book version delivers the message in a gentle package just right for the youngest of readers.
Encourage children to describe any special items they may own or may have been attached to when they were younger. Be sure the discussion addresses the process of letting go.
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Zoefeld, Kathleen Weidner. SECRETS OF THE GARDEN: FOOD CHAINS AND THE FOOD WEB IN OUR BACKYARD. 9780517709900
Duke, Kate. READY FOR PUMPKINS. 9780375870682
By Suzy Parchman