Had enough pumpkin? How about squash?
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and like many an eater, I have cooking and feasting on my mind. I love a good butternut squash dish. I often serve roasted butternut, cubed with freshly chopped rosemary, as a side. I brought one of my favorite macaroni and cheese dishes to a read-through last Saturday, a favorite from Cooking Light, made with butternut squash and Gruyere. The next day, we celebrated my dad's birthday with a dinner at my sister's. I spent the afternoon making this magical pizza I found on Pinterest (the blog is called Half-Baked Harvest, and it's full of beautiful food), and it tasted as wonderful as it looked. (Look at the colors! It's Christmas in a pizza!) I need to pester my mother for her butternut risotto recipe next.
Butternut squash also makes delightful picture book fodder.
Sophie's Squash [Schwartz and Wade, 2013], written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf, is one of the most charming stories we've read in a while. Sophie chooses a butternut squash from the farmer's market, but eating it is the furthest thing from her mind. She names the squash Bernice. As the blurb on the back of the book says, "Bernice was just the right size to love." Bernice becomes Sophie's favorite playmate.
Of course, the inevitable starts to happen. Bernice becomes spotty, then soft.
Sophie seeks the advice of the man at the farmer's market. "What keeps a squash healthy?" She makes a bed in the earth for Bernice, hoping the dirt will make her healthy again. Winter passes, and Sophie's parents give her a pet fish, which doesn't replace Bernice, but becomes a worthy companion. Spring arrives, and a happy surprise is waiting for Sophie in Bernice's spot.
This is a darling picture book. The story is so sweet, and the illustrations are cute and cartoonish. Read this with your kids, then print the activity page from the Random House website.
The girls and I also decided to revisit one of our favorites from the storytimes I used to do at the bookstore.
The Ugly Pumpkin [GP Putnam's Sons, 2005] by Dave Horowitz is the silly, rhyming story of a very mopey, bullied pumpkin who is left behind on Halloween. No one wants a pumpkin this ugly. The other pumpkins, a Halloween skeleton, even the trees make fun of him.
Until one day, he finds a field of squash...
It turns out that the Ugly Pumpkin's story was never a Halloween story but a Thanksgiving tale!
I love reading this one aloud. My Ugly Pumpkin has the most pathetic mopey voice this side of Eeyore. For a less goofy rendition, watch the video below.
Follow along with Silver Shoes & Rabbit Holes on Facebook, Bloglovin, Instagram, and/or Pinterest!