“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.” ~ Henry David Thoreau.
Come November, the best of the apple crop has been harvested. Is your larder stocked with your favorite varieties for the chilly days ahead? Nothing says fall like the aroma of cinnamon wafting through the kitchen, promising a freshly baked apple pie, cobbler, or crisp.
While I’m waiting for my pie to bake, thought I’d add several more apple picture books to the list I started last year. I was happy to discover some wonderful new titles for 2009, as well as some older books I missed before. One can never have too many apples, right?
Bite into any one of these for a crisp, juicy, flavorful treat. Enjoy!
APPLES FOR EVERYONE by Jill Esbaum (National Geographic, 2009). This inviting, photo-luscious charmer begins with basic facts about the life cycle of the apple from blossom to harvest, and then tempts the reader with delectable examples of how apples are consumed — dipped in caramel, baked in pies, cooked into applesauce, pressed for cider.
Esbaum’s simple text is punctuated with wonderful sensory detail. Apples are described with “golden spreckles or snazzy stripes,” “round as a ball or tall and bumpy bottomed.” She polishes off the feast with Johnny Appleseed, apple anatomy and apple names. The familiar sensation of the all-important CRUNCH, followed by juice dribbling down the chin, will keep this satisfying introduction to America’s favorite fruit fresh through repeated readings. (Picture the Seasons series, paperback original.)
APPLES by Ken Robbins (Atheneum, 2002). Another fetching photo-essay covering cultivation, pollination, harvesting, and consumption. Texture rich close-ups pull the reader right into the pages — apple picking, drinking a cold glass of cider, biting into big fruit. An Author’s Note provides a bit of history, lore, and literary references. Accessible with a highly appealing format.
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE APPLE by Charles Micucci (Orchard Books, 1992). A bountiful harvest of information sure to please any little apple eater who’s curious about life cycle, harvesting, uses, varieties, history, and legend. The book contains over 100 detailed, full-color illos and diagrams presented in a clear, concise, lively format. Especially interesting: Parts of an Apple Flower, Apple Uses (yum!), Apple Timeline and dispersion throughout the U.S. Perfect for upper elementary readers.
APPLESAUCE SEASON by Eden Ross Lipson, illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein (Roaring Brook Press, 2009). If ever there was a lip-smacking, body-and-soul-satisfying book, this is it. Liberally flavored with love, family tradition, and a young boy’s sheer joy over every aspect of applesauce making, this story will inevitably inspire readers of all ages to make some of the tasty stuff for themselves.
The frantic energy of Gerstein’s ink and watercolor illos, rendered in a predominantly red, green, and blue palette, keeps the reader happily engaged and salivating page after page. Whether it’s the bushels teeming with apples at the farmers’ market, sliced apples resplendent on cutting boards, bobbing about in a big pot, or the table set with roast beef, potato pancakes, apple cake and crepes, the spirit of seasonal celebration comes through loud and clear. Adorable endpapers, featuring apple varieties and character faces, are worth the price of admission alone, and of course, the author’s applesauce recipe is included (also available online here).
AN APPLE PIE FOR DINNER by Susan VanHecke, illustrated by Carol Baicker-McKee (Marshall Cavendish, 2009). Based on the English folktale, “The Apple Dumpling,” this toothsome tale features Granny Smith, who seeks apples to make a pie for dinner. She sets out with a basket of plums and travels the countryside, trading off feathers, flowers, a gold coin, and a puppy until she finally gets her apples. Everyone she’s met follows her home, where they help make and devour the pie. Baicker-McKee’s remarkable three dimensional, mixed-media bas-relief illos give the book a decidedly homespun flavor (oh, the wonders of baked polymer clay, found objects, wood and pipe cleaners). Recipe for apple pie included.
APPLE COUNTDOWN by Joan Holub, illustrated by Jan Smith (Albert Whitman, 2009). Kids will enjoy counting down from 20 to 1 in this lively story about a school field trip to an apple farm. The rhyming text keeps things moving right along, as the class boards and rides the bus (imagining what they might see), rides a train, counts cows, ducks, trees, even bee hives. Best of all is picking the apples and, of course, apple pies. Smith’s ‘loose tooth’ subtext adds humor, and it’s nice to see a racially diverse group of students.
APPLE FARMER ANNIE by Monica Wellington (Puffin, 2001). There is something decidedly sweet and charming about this simple story featuring Annie, who picks the apples from her orchard, sorts and sizes them, then makes cider, applesauce, muffins, cakes and pies. She takes her apples and baked goods to the farmers’ market in the city, where she sells everything and then returns home with a wonderful feeling of satisfaction. The brightly colored illustrations with their clean lines are eminently pleasing to the eye, and the spare text is great for reading aloud. Includes recipes for applesauce, apple muffins, and applesauce cake. Yum!
Well, it looks like my pie is done. Would you like some? Be sure to let me know if I missed any of your favorite apple books!
Copyright © 2009 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.