Monday, December 21, 2015

Book Review: Squash Pie

(Reclaimed from Blogjob, where the "long-tailed tags" were children’s storyfunny stories for beginning readersfunny stories to read aloudpicture book,squash pieTennessee writer Wilson Gage.)

Book Review: Squash Pie
Author: Wilson Gage
Date: 1976
Publisher: Greenwillow / William Morrow
Length: 56 pages
Illustrations: color cartoons by Glen Rounds
Quote: “Potatoes have eyes...When my squash are big and ready to be picked, the potatoes will keep a good lookout.”
Squash Pie is an elaborate moron joke about a farmer with ideas no real farmer was ever foolish enough to try, undoubtedly a relative of Amelia Bedelia. Children who have done some gardening will laugh at the foolishness of this farmer as early as age three.
The one serious gardening tip children need to glean (sorry!) from Squash Pie is that most of the vegetables in the squash family can be cooked soft, mashed, sweetened, and made into pies. Pumpkin is the kind of squash most often associated with pie. Actually it’s not easy to tell pies made from some other varieties of squash from pumpkin pie.
So the one thing that’s not to love about Squash Pie is that Wilson Gage didn’t tell us which kind of squash was used in the pie and which seasonings were used with it. Possibly this is because the flavor of real fruits and vegetables can vary depending on the conditions in which they grew. Some squashes need more cooking and sweetening than others. You have to bake or simmer your squash until it’s tender and then taste it. .
What else is there to say about Squash Pie? Glen Rounds’ cartoon drawings are perfect for the general mood of this story. The clothes and hairstyles were meant to suggest, to young readers in the 1970s, that this is the kind of story that might have happened in their grandparents’ time. The characters’ faces were meant to show that they’re not very bright.
This book is easy enough for six-year-olds to read, funny enough that they might go on reading it to their younger relatives, and well enough bound to last through a couple of generations. Recommended to anyone who reads with primary school children.
Wilson Gage was the pen name of Christine Govan's daughter, who was married to William Steele. All three were beloved writers in the twentieth century. Their books are going into the collector price range, so if you buy Squash Pie from this web site I'll have to charge $10 per copy + $5 per package...and Wilson Gage doesn't even have any use for $1.50. Fortunately, this is a thin picture book, so you can jam in four or five other picture books, possibly by living authors who do need the money, and pay only the one $5 per package. Payment may be sent to either of the addresses in the lower left-hand corner of the screen (above the ad).