Happy Book Birthday tomorrow to Sophie’s Squash!
With school starting rather soon-ish, my first thought was to recommend Sophie’s Squash to teachers, librarians and parents as a charming book for autumn. But I hesitate to limit this gem to the “books for fall” shelf. Inspired by Pat’s own squash-loving daughter, Sonia, this lovely story is really about friendship, and is a joy for all seasons.
From the publisher’s website: On a trip to the farmers’ market with her parents, Sophie chooses a squash, but instead of letting her mom cook it, she names it Bernice. From then on, Sophie brings Bernice everywhere, despite her parents’ gentle warnings that Bernice will begin to rot. As winter nears, Sophie does start to notice changes…. What’s a girl to do when the squash she loves is in trouble? With absolutely delightful text by Pat Zietlow Miller and downright hilarious illustrations from Anne Wilsdorf, Sophie’s Squash will be a fresh addition to any collection of autumn books.
If you’re thinking this book sounds like a must-read, you’re not alone. So far it’s received four–count ’em–FOUR! starred reviews:
“In a perfect blend of story and art, the humorous watercolor-and-ink illustrations are bursting with color and energy on every page… This is a paean to love and friendship, which can come in all species, shapes, and sizes.” ~Booklist
“With lessons on life, love, and vegetable gardening, this tale will be cherished by children, and their parents will be happy to read it to them often.” ~School Library Journal
“Sensitive but funny… Miller’s easygoing storytelling taps into the familiar scenario of children making fierce attachments to favorite objects.” ~Publishers Weekly
“This season-spanning turn with high-spirited Sophie offers endearing lessons about nurture and regeneration.” ~Kirkus Reviews
I asked Pat Zietlow Miller how Sophie’s Squash might be used in the classroom.
Pat Zietlow Miller: The kid would be any preschool through second-grade kid carrying a stuffed animal, a pet rock or a blanket that has been loved into oblivion. Or a kid with one best friend he or she does everything with. Those kids would totally understand why Sophie loves Bernice.
The teacher could be a teacher looking to talk about friendship with her class. Or loss. Or a teacher who’s just looking for a new fall book. Or maybe a teacher who’s about to take his or her class on a field trip to a farmers’ market.
Biblio Links: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using your book in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see or hear?
Pat Zietlow Miller: Well, in a perfect world, I’d love to peek into a classroom and see all the kids happily decorating squash of their own so they would have new friends. This would be after the teacher had read the book to them and talked about what a good friend is, how you know when you’ve found one and how you can be a good friend to others.
Biblio Links: I’d also add that this book is a natural pick for school guidance counselors. In addition to the topic of friendship, Sophie’s Squash is the perfect springboard for discussions on loss–of pets, friends who move away, loved ones. etc.
Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?
Pat Zietlow Miller: My main website is www.patzietlowmiller.com.
I also have a Pinterest board that suggests books with similar themes to SOPHIE’S SQUASH. It’s at: http://pinterest.com/patzmiller/sophies-squash-and-similar-books/
Biblio Links: Thanks for stopping by, Pat!
You can also follow Pat on Twitter: @PatZMiller. And the titles on her Pinterest board? They’d all make nice pairings with Sophie’s Squash for lessons on making text-to-text connections.
Look for Pat’s upcoming books in 2015: Sharing the Bread, a Thanksgiving book from Schwartz and Wade, and The Quickest Kid in Clarksville, inspired by Olympic sprinter Wilma Rudolph, from Chronicle Books.
The Nitty Gritty~
Publisher: Schwartz and Wade
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Interest Level: Ages 3 to 7
Number of Pages: 40