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Sophie's Squash

Last updated Sunday, February 8, 2015

Author: Pat Zietlow Miller
Illustrator: Anne Wilsdorf
Date of Publication: 2013
ISBN: 0307978966
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2015

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?

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you know what a "squash" is? Have you ever eaten one? Did you like it?
•  What's your favorite vegetable?
•  Have you ever been to a farmers' market?

•  squash: a type of vegetable (such as a pumpkin) of the the gourd family that has a hard shell
•  clutch: to hold or grip something or someone tightly
•  somersault: a forward or backward movement of your body on the ground or in the air that is made by bringing your feet over your head
•  blotchy: having dark-colored spots
•  sprout: the part of a new plant that is just beginning to grow above the ground

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What happened to Bernice?
•  What did the farmer say keeps a squash healthy? ("Fresh air. Good, clean dirt. A little love.")
•  Have you ever planted something and watched it grow?
•  Would you be friends with a squash? Would you rather have a toy to play with or a pet fish?
•  What different seasons occur throughout the book?

Craft ideas:
•  Make your own flying fish! Tear small pieces of construction paper and cover a paper towel roll (or a roll made out of construction paper) with colorful scales. Tear long, rectangular pieces for the tail. Use a ribbon to tie to a popsicle stick and let him fly! For an example, see: http://squirrellyminds.com/2013/05/03/koinobori-japanese-flying-carp-diy/.
Hint: Tear up construction paper for the scales during prep time. If making rolls out of construction paper, staple or tape it together so it stays rolled up!
•  Make your own squash buddy!
•  Make a Valentine's Day card for someone special.

Special activities:
•  "Mother, May I?"

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!