Book Review: Benji and the 24 Pound Banana Squash by Alan C. Fox

Benji and the 24 Pound Banana Squash by Alan C. Fox is a story for anyone who has ever had a dream of doing something really, really big. Benji wants to grow the biggest banana squash ever. In spring, when the soil is soft, he plants the seeds he has saved from the previous summer. He waters and waits, anxiously watching over the plant as the tiny squash begins to grow. Each day he lovingly measures its progress. On harvest day, the squash has grown so gigantic from all his love and attention that Benji can barely carry it. When the squash is cooked up with butter and brown sugar, everyone in the family enjoys a mouth-watering, homegrown treat. This charming garden-to-table story not only teaches children where food comes from, but also that patience and nurturing pay off with delicious rewards. 

Benji and the 24 Pound Banana Squash is a story about patience, and how caring for something makes the reward all the sweeter. Benji is eager to grow the biggest banana squash ever, but he needs to be patient because nature is not always quick. I love that the story shows him being taught persistence and responsibility for the plant, rather than him just being that way. His eagerness, and occasional frustration with the time and effort involved is honest and real. I thought the illustrations were lovely, and added an extra layer to the story. 

Benji and the 24 Pound Banana Squash is a perfect pick for families, story times, and classrooms that are gardening with children or trying to show the effort that goes into growing our food. I can think of many great classroom or homeschooling projects that would go well with this book, although it does work wonderfully as a simple, fun read to share as well. 

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