By Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2013
Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor
Charlotte Zolotow Honor book
Sophie repurposes a squash meant for dinner as her new friend. It’s just the right size for her to hold. Soon she dresses it, plays with it and names it Bernice. Her patient parents point out the squash will turn bad, but loyal Sophie refuses to give up her friend. Eventually her other friends ridicule the ‘squash with freckles’. She returns to the market and asks the farmer what will keep a squash healthy. “Fresh air. Good, clean dirt. A little love.” She returns home and buries her squash in good clean dirt. The next day a snow blanket comforts her squash. Winter passes and in the spring, Sophie spots a small green sprout, strangely familiar. Each day she eats lunch by Bernice who has grown into a plant, until one day she discovers hidden beneath its leaves two tiny squash. “You look just like your mom!” she declares. When they are just the right size to love, she makes them her friends.
There is something irresistible about Sophie’s Squash. A child’s innocence and imagination using real foods, combined with her loyalty and creativity makes this story work on many levels. There are several reports of girls adopting their own squash.