Squash Love

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.

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  1. Those are adorable stories!!! I especially like how the little girl is taking care of her butternut squash :) The ugly pumpkin story is very sweet too. Great finds!

  2. GOODNESS! I must get that butternut squash book! I must I must. We grown A LOT of squash for the farmers market. Hey, we're the folks selling that squash to that girl!!!

    1. Sophie's Squash? It is precious! My husband loved it, too. I have a feeling we may have to get it for Little Sis for Christmas. Too irresistible! And ha! Yay for farmer's markets!

  3. SO CUTE!!!! and you made that pizza??? that looks AMAZING!!!!! I feel happy looking at everything in this post :)

    1. That pizza was crazy! It took a few hours to make, when you factor in waiting for the dough to rise and de-seeding the pomegranate, and it took all of 30 minutes for us to devour it. It was awesome. I wondered about the salsa, if it would be too much, but it was perfect. The only complaint I had was her cooking times were off. No way did it need to be in the oven that long. If I make it again, I'd probably load everything on it first, including the kale, then bake for 15 minutes total. It was so worth it, though. All of the adults liked it, and that included some rather non-adventurous eaters! Save it for when you're in an adventurous mood yourself.

      The books are great. Sophie's Squash is our new favorite book, and I will probably bring it to D.E.A.R. tomorrow.

  4. Sophie's Squash is adorable! I love that story! Both books look great :)

    1. Isn't it darling??? I read it to Big Sis's class for Drop Everything And Read today (along with Zombelina).

  5. Replies
    1. We fell in love with Sophie's Squash. It will be someone's Christmas present, definitely.


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