There are so many wonderful picture books about apple trees, apple cider, apple pies, and everything apples!
Apple Farmer Annie, (ages 2+) by Monica Wellington: A contented-looking Annie picks, sorts, presses, bakes, and transports her apples and apple products to the city’s market. At the end there are recipes for apple muffins and applesauce. Although the story is simple, the rich illustrations have plenty of details to discuss. We own the bilingual edition, Ana Cultiva Manzanas / Apple Farmer Annie.
The Apple Pie Tree (ages 2+) by Zoe Hall: Two sisters describe how their apple tree grows during the seasons until there are ripe apples for a delicious pie. The mixed-media collage pictures are perfect for illustrating the rich textures of nature. A lovely family of robins, some helpful bees, and other fauna also play a role in this tale. A page at the end describes the role bees play in pollination and shares a recipe for apple pie. My kids find the whole idea of an “apple pie tree” very amusing and this simple tale keeps their interest throughout the whole story.
The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree (Ages 2+) by Gail Gibbons: Arnold enjoys the seasons in his own special apple tree. As he watches flowers bud and blossom and ripen into fruit and observes his tree with his five senses, he also hangs a swing from his tree, builds a tree house, juggles, weaves a wreath, and decorates his apples and tree, all in their proper season. Insets describe the process of pollination, give a recipe for Apple Pie, and show how Apple Cider is made. This simple book is a clear illustration of the seasons of the apple tree. I love the idea that the gifts of nature keep Arnold “busy”–his play is his work.
The Growing-Up Tree, (ages 3+) by Vera Rosenberry: In this lovely tale, a mother enjoys a particularly sweet apple on a sunny day with her baby. She plants the seeds and a single sprout grows with the boy. The boy, now grown to an aged grandfather, comes to the end of his life at the same time as his beloved tree. A new sprout grows in its place as a lovely reminder of the circle of life. Some sensitive children may be troubled by the death of the protagonist but others may be comforted.
Up, Up. Up! It’s Apple-Picking Time, (ages 2+) by Jody Fickes Shapiro: A young family takes the long drive to the grandparents’ apple orchard to help with the picking and selling. The blocky cut-paper style illustrations lend a timeless feel to this tale of old-fashioned family fun.
The Apple Pie That Papa Baked, (ages 2+) by Lauren Thompson: Based on the nursery rhyme, “This is the House that Jack Build”, this story traces an apple pie back to the earth, sun, and rain that nurture the tree. The gorgeous two-color illustrations vibrate with life and embrace the loving father and daughter.
Apple Cider Making Days, (ages 3+) by Ann Purmell: The whole family pitches in to make cider and sell apples at the grandparents’ orchard. The book describes the process of selecting apples and pressing them for cider. I appreciate the discussion of how the most beautiful apples are sold for eating while the irregular ones still taste great as cider. My children are fascinated by the detailed illustrations of the machinery and cider press.
Apples Here!, (ages 2+) written and illustrated by Will Hubbell: From the closed buds of winter to the beautiful blossoms of spring, to the green fruits of summer, to the ripe apples of fall, there are apples here for a cast of multicultural and multi-generational families, rendered in colored pencil. There are even apples for a hungry deer. The text is very simple but the book does open the door for more discussion with children. At the end, there is a more in-depth discussion of the lifecycle of apples and the role of apples in the traditions of various cultures.
A few others I hope to check out soon…
Rain Makes Applesauce, by Julian Scheer.
Applesauce, by Shirley Kurtz.
Applesauce Season, Eden Ross Lipson.