Sophie's Squash Go To School

(I haven't bought a butternut squash lately, but I do have this acorn squash. I shall call it Corny - after my writing. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!)


Today is my babies' first day of school. Of course, they are no longer babies. Big Sis is starting her first day of fifth grade, her last year of elementary school. Little Sis is in third, and joins her sister in the "big kid" half of the school. It seems like only yesterday that I dropped my oldest off for her first day of kindergarten. So nervous, so excited.

The book Sophie's Squash came out when Little Sis was in kindergarten. She was so shy and quiet in those days, at least to those of her who didn't know her well. She latched on to that book, I think, because she identified with Sophie, a creative little girl with a big imagination. I love that book so much I blogged about it TWICE (here and here).

So I'm so happy to share a new Sophie book on this first day of school.

Sophie's Squash Go To School by Pat Zietlow Miller,
illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf. Schwartz & Wade, 2016.

When we last saw Sophie, she was holding Bernice's offspring, two new butternut squash named Bonnie and Baxter.

Now, it is Sophie's first day of school. Sophie's parents insist she will have fun and make new friends. Sophie is determined. She will not have fun, and Bonnie and Baxter are the only friends she needs.




Most of the children fail to understand. One even asks Sophie if they can eat them.

But one little boy, Steven Green, wants to be Sophie's friend. He tries very hard, but Sophie isn't very nice to him.


He introduces Sophie and the squash to his best friend, a stuffed frog named Marvin. Sophie still doesn't care.


Her parents try to reason with her, but she won't budge. She has no time for other children. Bonnie and Baxter are the only friends she needs.

Several times, she almost makes an effort. Poor Steven asks if he and Marvin can play hopscotch with her, but she is rude.

Then the time comes to say goodbye to the squash. They are old and past their prime, so Sophie buries them in the garden.

She draws a picture at school. Steven wants to see, but Sophie doesn't want to show him. He grabs the picture, and accidentally tears it. Sophie is unforgiving.


At school, Steven leaves Marvin and an envelope in her cubby. She ignores it until it disappears. Later, her dad finds both in her backpack. Inside the envelope, Steven has enclosed a picture he drew of Bonnie and Baxter, and a packet of seeds.

"Then she took Marvin outside and sat by Bonnie and Baxter. And thought some more."



Sophie finds Steven at school. "Your frog had a great idea."

The teacher helps the class plant seeds in pots. They start to sprout.


"See?" Sophie told Steven. "Sometimes growing a friend just takes time."



Reading this again as I photographed it, I really felt for little Steven. He just wanted a friend, and saw someone with whom he could identify. Sophie isn't very nice, but sometimes, young children are not nice, especially if they tend to live inside their own heads, like Sophie.

My own Sophie-ish kiddo is more of a people person than her big sister now. It's so funny how things change.

Here's our obligatory first day of school picture. Fall is just around the corner! 





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Obsessive Nostalgia Disorder Monday: More Return To Oz Books


Ah, Return to Oz. What can I say? It's just a major part of my childhood. (See here and here.) I recently hit upon two more books, from two different sources. The first, The Return to Oz Storybook, came as part of a Better World Books order. The second, a mass-market novelization of the film, was just sitting inconspicuously on the shelf at a local used bookstore. Of course, I bought them both, if only to have them on my Oz-themed shelf.

Return to Oz by Joan D. Vinge, based on the screenplay by Walter Murch and Gill Dennis.
Ballantine Books, 1985.

I don't think I've bought a novel based on a book (as opposed to the other way around) since elementary school. The thrill of ordering books through those Scholastic book club forms, right? I know I read novels based on Space Camp and The Karate Kid, Part Two. I roll my eyes and laugh now, but I was only nine.

Joan D. Vinge, who wrote this novelization, is a renowned sci-fi author. Perhaps I should give this a read at some point.


Ooo, pictures!


Actually, most of the pictures in this book made it into this one, as well.

Return to Oz Storybook, based on the screenplay by Walter Murch and Gill Dennis, with photo still from the Walt Disney film. Golden, 1985.


Aww, look at little Fairuza Balk. Big Sis and I watched The Craft  this summer. Her eyes got big when she realized Nancy was the little girl from this and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

The storybook is oversized, with full-color photographs from the movie. It's the kind of keepsake book I would have loved to own back in 1985.




 The Wheelers are sooooooo creepy.

But Mombi is creepier!




Jean Marsh, who played Mombi with her original head, was also Queen Bavmorda in Willow, another favorite of mine. (I know you're surprised.) She also appeared in an episode of Grantchester, which Mr. B and I re-watched just the other day.


The Nome King, as played by Nicol Williamson, is so very, very different from the one described by Baum in the books.








We haven't watched this movie in a few years, although it was an early favorite of Little Sis's. However, I just discovered this website. If you'll excuse me, I think I have some exploring to do...


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