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Sophie's Squash #1

Sophie's Squash

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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?

32 pages, Hardcover

First published August 6, 2013

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About the author

Pat Zietlow Miller

21 books230 followers
Pat Zietlow Miller knew she wanted to be a writer ever since her seventh-grade English teacher read her paper about square-dancing skirts out loud in class and said: “This is the first time anything a student has written has given me chills.” (Thanks, Mrs. Mueller! You rock!)

Pat started out as a newspaper reporter and wrote about everything from dartball and deer-hunting to diets and decoupage. Then, she joined an insurance company and edited its newsletter and magazine.

Now, she writes insurance information by day and children’s books by night. She has 11 picture books available and 12 more that will be coming out in the next few years.


Pat has one wonderful husband, two delightful daughters and two pampered cats. She doesn’t watch much TV, but she does love "Chopped." Pat lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

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5 stars
1,711 (48%)
4 stars
1,222 (34%)
3 stars
493 (13%)
2 stars
83 (2%)
1 star
26 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 494 reviews
Profile Image for Melki.
6,031 reviews2,385 followers
June 3, 2020
Probably the best book ever written about friendship between a girl and a butternut squash.


I read it to Wilson, and he LOVED it!
Profile Image for Marie.
143 reviews44 followers
October 10, 2017
This is a beautiful children’s book about a little girl, Sophie, who chooses a squash from a farmer’s market. This squash is the perfect size to hold, to bounce on her knee, to put a face on with marker, to fall in love with. The squash begins to become freckled and less bouncy, and in an effort to heal her squash, Sophie buries it in dirt. After the snow melts, a squash plant grows and eventually Sophie has two new squash to love. The humor is subtle and enjoyable. This book is thoroughly unique and a great read for the fall!
Profile Image for Tim.
Author 7 books43 followers
August 23, 2013
Hey...does this star rating thing go beyond 5? It should sometimes. Like for Sohpie and her squash Bernice.

I love this! You will too. One day when Sophie and her parents go to the Farmer's market, Sophie finds a squash that is the perfect size to cuddle and hold. Her parents had been thinking to have it for dinner...but Sophie drew a face on Bernice and introduced her to Mom...Mom ordered a pizza. But having a squash baby has its hazards. I can't tell you how Sophie navigates them because that is all the fun of this heart-warming story of vegetable love.

A must read!
Profile Image for Zahra Labbafan.
438 reviews25 followers
May 8, 2022
نقاشی قشنگ
دنیای عالی کودکان قشنگ
داستان بامزه و قشنگ
Profile Image for Chance Lee.
1,338 reviews123 followers
July 25, 2018
This cute story of a girl who befriends a squash and just cannot let it go reminds me of the time I got really attached to a tiny loaf of bread and wanted to keep it forever.

I was 22.
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,174 reviews187 followers
October 15, 2020
When Sophie and her parents purchase a butternut squash at the farmer's market, the young girl immediately adopts the piece of produce as her baby and best friend, naming it Bernice. Nothing her parents do can change her mind - she isn't interested in any other kind of companion or plaything. When Bernice begins to rot, Sophie puts her "to bed" in the ground, and the next spring, Bernice has had children...

Pairing a sweet story and cute artwork, Sophie's Squash is a picture-book that I should have enjoyed more than I did, especially given my fondness for autumnal scenes. Unfortunately, while there was nothing really wrong here, I just failed to have any particularly strong reaction to the book, whether positive or negative. Perhaps I just have difficulty anthropomorphizing squash, but it was difficult to take Sophie's squash 'friend' seriously, and the jaded part of me kept thinking: do we really need to encourage children to befriend their vegetables, rather than eat them? Tastes vary, of course, and others seem to have really enjoyed this one, so if the picture-book reader is in the market for autumnal/seasonal stories about friendship and the natural world, this might fit the bill.
Profile Image for Moonkiszt.
2,160 reviews210 followers
January 4, 2022
Featured in a grandma reads session.

Sophie has chosen her dollie. . . and it is Bernice, the squash. This works out nicely for some time, but eventually Bernice goes the way of all squashes, and well. . .uh . . .squashes. Luckily, Sophie seems to be a rather pragmatic girl and knows exactly what to do with Bernice.

My kiddos enjoyed the outcome of this story, and didn't find it so very odd, having recently read a story where the hero has a doll that is a turnip.
1,038 reviews117 followers
February 12, 2019
This is a very cute children’s book about a little girl named Sophie who picks up a butternut squash at a farmer’s market and decides to create it as her own best friend / child.
Profile Image for Heidi-Marie.
3,854 reviews82 followers
October 12, 2016
How adorable! I may have clicked with this more than another book because I used to love to do this with the groceries my mom would bring home and I would help put away. Granted, my parents would never have put up with it for as long as Sophie's did. Not even for a few minutes. So I only did it as I took the groceries down to the pantry. (And usually it was not produce that could go bad.) I love the progression of the story. And while I guessed the ending, it was still adorable and I loved it.

This would be a good STEM option in storytime--teaching basic plant principles, or seasons. Would be fun to bring in a squash for the kids to hold. Maybe some fake squash to paint faces on for the craft?

2014-2015 Beehive nominee

7/30/14 A bit longer than I realized when I used this in Food theme of ST. But I had an older crowd than usual and it went well. I don't think they caught some of the humor of the idea of it all, but I think they grasped a bit.

10/12/16 May not have been the best ending book for Seasons preschool theme simply because we had such a huge crowd by the end. My smaller crowds handle the slightly longer books just fine. But this crowd wasn't too bad. Only a few antsy young ones, and many young ones who missed a little of the humor. But eventually they caught on and they all loved the ending.
Profile Image for Liz.
115 reviews12 followers
August 23, 2013
Sophie and Bernice are best friends. Bernice goes with Sophie everywhere - to the farmer's market, to story time at the library, they even practice somersaults in the garden together. There's just one problem...Bernice is a squash. Sophie's parents tell her that squash don't last forever - eventually they'll squishy and gross. Sophie will have none of it; she believes that Bernice will always be her best pal. When Bernice starts to show signs of aging, Sophie comes up with the perfect solution!

This picture book by Pat Zietlow Miller is absolutely adorable! The story completely enters into the mindset of a young, hopeful child and does so with humor and heart. This story is perfect for sharing with 3-6 year olds in group story time settings or during family story time at home, especially during the fall season. Just make sure you're ready to make a trip to the local farmer's market - kids will be looking for a squash-y friend of their own!
Profile Image for Barbara.
13.2k reviews277 followers
August 28, 2013
After selecting the perfect squash while shopping with her parents, Sophie simply can't bear to have it cooked. She becomes quite attached to the squash, names it Bernice, and brings it everywhere she goes. Even when the other children make fun of Bernice, Sophie remains steadfastly loyal and won't give up the squash. When even she realizes that something is wrong with Bernice since she is no longer firm, she tucks Bernice into the ground in order to heal. To her great delight, after winter's chill has ended, Bernice sends up sprouts from the ground. Eventually, Sophie will have quite a surprise. I love how patient her parents are with her and obsession with the squash. This is a sweet story, tenderly told and lovingly illustrated with drawings fashioned with watercolor, ink, and China ink. The popularity of squash is sure to rise exponentially after this book's publication.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,751 reviews16 followers
August 7, 2013
Young children are notorious for latching on to random playthings or even having invisible friends. Their imaginations giving life to almost anything they encounter. Sophie is no exception. She decides that a squash purchased for dinner would make a better companion for herself. She gives it a face and a name, Bernice. Bernice goes everywhere with Sophie despite her parents concerns for the inevitable squishy, rotten fate of all produce. Eventually Bernice starts showing signs of her age leading Sophie to consult the squash man at the farmers market. When she follows his advice she is a little lonely for awhile until something unexpected happens and Sophie has more "friends" than before. This adorable story does a great job of showing tolerant parents and a sweet young girl who will do anything for her friend. This is a truly charming and well-illustrated story.
Profile Image for Kate.
533 reviews36 followers
March 3, 2015
I loved this book when I first read it last year, but wondered how children would react to it. You know how there are those picture books that appeal much more to adults than to kids? I worried this was one of those. I got my chance to find out today during my weekly library program for kids in grades 3 through 5. Sophie's Squash is a North Carolina Children's Book Award nominee and in honor of Read Across America Day, I did my program on the nominated books, and kids voted at the end.

I chose this as one of my read-alouds, fully expecting the five kids in attendance to prefer The Dark by Lemony Snicket or That Is Not A Good Idea! by Mo Willems. But all of the kids liked the tale of Sophie and Bernice best, laughing aloud at the gentle humor and aww-ing at the ending.
Profile Image for Dolly.
Author 1 book649 followers
August 27, 2013
This is a sweet tale of a girl's affinity for a squash. She prefers the squash to a baby doll or other toy and carries it everywhere. I love that she even brings it to storytime at the library. The ending is very cute and our girls extrapolated that to a future of countless baby squashes.

The narrative is entertaining and fun to read aloud and the illustrations are terrific. We really enjoyed reading this book together.
Profile Image for Meg.
678 reviews25 followers
September 19, 2013
Discover what happens when Sophie decides to befriend the squash her mother bought at the farmers' market. I read it aloud with 1st and 2nd graders and they were hooked. Opens them up to talk about friendship and that friends truly do come in all shapes and sizes. What they really enjoyed was making their own squash friends afterward with a simple paper activity. If I had a real live squash for every one of them, that would have been even better.
Profile Image for The Library Lady.
3,649 reviews537 followers
December 27, 2014
Oh, how I love this book! The story is pitch perfect, right down to the ending, and the pictures have the right feel too. I'm just glad neither of my girls ever did this because butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables to grow--and eat :D
Profile Image for Tara.
Author 7 books205 followers
December 30, 2013
This book is absolutely delightful. Whimsical, funny, and ultimately meaningful, it would be at home on any shelf. Hooray for Sophie and Bernice!
Profile Image for Nancy Kotkin.
1,405 reviews17 followers
January 28, 2019
A little girl develops a dedicated attachment to a squash. Her parents try to gently steer her to a pet, toy, or another friend, but the girl is determined to remain loyal to her squash. When the inevitable happens and Bernice starts to rot, the little girl plants her in the ground. Themes of gardening, life cycle, and friendship are covered with humor and heart.
Profile Image for Kelly Kneisler.
30 reviews
February 4, 2018
Great book I read a few years ago for story time. Illustrations are cute and colorful. Cutest pig tails since Pippy Longstocking! Great book for story time in fall or spring. Maybe bring in a real squash to put in the middle of the table!
Profile Image for Sandy.
1,118 reviews18 followers
October 5, 2022
A cute book that will make kids laugh because why is this child carrying around a squash like it's her best friend? Well, it is and that's ok. I like the illustrations.
Profile Image for Cathy Mealey.
Author 3 books25 followers
July 19, 2017
Big, bright orange pumpkins are definitely the vegetable celebrities on Halloween. I’d like to nominate the humble butternut to take center stage during Thanksgiving, a time for celebrating the harvest with family and friends. And there’s no better book to promote butternut devotion than the sweet, seasonal friendship story of Sophie’s Squash.

“Bernice was just the right size to love,” reads the blurb on the back cover. Chosen at the farmer’s market and destined for the dinner table, Sophie decides that her squash is perfect to hold, cuddle and rock to sleep. She adds a simple smiling face and wraps it in a blanket. “I call her Bernice,” Sophie announces proudly as her mother leafs through a recipe book, preparing for dinner. “I’ll call for a pizza,” her mother wisely replies.

Girl and gourd become inseparable, somersaulting and playing as best friends do. “Well, we did hope she’d love vegetables,” Sophie’s parents say. But time is not on Bernice’s side. She becomes splotchy, spotty and even soft as winter approaches. Loyal Sophie will not give up on her friend, no matter how she changes. How will Sophie reconcile her deep butternut bond with Bernice’s inevitable decline? Even though there is a small sad moment, all ends well in springtime.

The author’s young daughter, clutching a squash at the grocery store and claiming it for her own, inspired the original story.It is expanded nicely in the book to touch on nurturing, companionship and the science of seed, soil and sun. But readers will undoubtedly understand and identify with Sophie’s steadfast devotion to her special friend whom she loves, protects and defends no matter the cost.

The hilarious, quirky illustrations pair well with Miller’s smooth, comic text. Wilsdorf adds wry humor through the antics of an inquisitive calico cat, wild patterned outfits, and Sophie’s beribboned spiky pigtails. There are just enough carefully placed details in each image to convey the unique comforts of home and the slow changes of season.

Parents will recognize and appreciate the humorous challenges that occur when a child latches onto an unusual favorite object like a certain sock or special spoon. And the enduring message here, that everything – even something as simple as a squash - is worthy of love, is certainly one to savor during this season of sharing.

Profile Image for Tasha.
4,117 reviews108 followers
July 23, 2013
When Sophie and her family go to the farmer’s market, Sophie helps pick out a lovely squash. However, it is not a squash that she wants to eat! Instead she names it Bernice and takes it everywhere with her. Her parents offer to cook Bernice so that she won’t rot, but Sophie is scandalized. Soon though, Bernice is starting to show her age with “freckles” on her skin. So Sophie heads back to the farmer’s market to ask how to help Bernice not rot. The farmer suggests, “Fresh air. Good, clean dirt. A little love.” Sophie heads home and plants Bernice in the garden, tucking her into that good dirt. That night, the snow starts to fall and Sophie has to be very patient. Her parents get her a fish to keep her company, but he’s not as interesting as Bernice. With spring come some surprises that will delight and satisfy.

This picture book does not read like a debut book, instead having a confident tone and a quirky premise of more veteran authors. The story is completely satisfying, offering a conclusion that brings the book full circle and along the way plenty of squash bonding time. So many children bond with objects in their childhood that this will speak to many children. Both the humor of it being a squash and the seasonal nature of the story make this a joyful pick.

Wilsdorf’s illustrations reflect the quirkiness of this title beautifully. The bond between girl and squash is perfectly rendered and while humorous, the images never laugh at Sophie and her new friend. The warm and loving family is depicted in their kitchen and home, ready to eat the squash but also ready to let Sophie decide.

Pick this one for your next autumnal storytime though it will also make a nice addition to any garden-themed unit too. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 494 reviews

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