Book Reviews, Mamaishness, Teacherishness

You knew this was coming: The Obligatory Apple Post.

Those of you who disdain everything about traditional education should probably stop reading now. 😉 Those of you who have PTSD from thirty years of teaching Kindergarten might want to quit, too.

Girls and apples

But for everyone else, it’s apple time! When I taught second grade, I loved apple week. We did it, and we did it big: books, crafts, apple sauce in the Crock-Pot. It felt like 1978 or something. I’ve written about a couple of my favorite apple books before, but there is one more I’d like to highlight. Also, this gives me an excuse to post pictures of the girls from our apple picking excursion last month.

Apple Picking 2014

I think they’re pretty adorable, personally. (Side note: our apples were not as good this year. I assume this summer’s heat to be the culprit.)

apple book, children's apple book, book for fall, children's books for fall

I went on a little library quest for apple books, and almost came up empty. However, Ann Turner and Sandi Wickersham Resnick’s Apple Valley Year (IndieBound/Amazon) turned out to be a new favorite at our house. Written to reflect the growing cycle of an apple orchard, Apple Valley Year reminded me of Donald Hall and Barbara Cooney’s masterpiece Ox-Cart Man. Not only does the text reflect a simpler, agrarian past, the style of the illustrations is also folksy and detailed, much like Cooney’s.

farming books, books about apple farming, apple orchard

For those of us who are enjoying the resurgence of traditional skills, there’s a lot of eye candy in this book. Check out that quilt! There’s also a prominently featured wood stove and an embroidery sampler. One of my favorite things about this book is that it shows the way that various farm chores support the orchard in different ways. The family does more than work with the trees – they also move beehives to encourage pollination and encourage the fox family that preys on mice, whose gnawing threatens the trees’ health.

plant life cycle book, farm life cycles, agrarian america

There’s even a little bit of economics here. The book’s youngest characters talk about how they won’t have new shoes until after the apple harvest is sold, and the parents discuss the dependence of the family upon a high price for apples each year. Obviously, the book portrays a successful year in the life of the farm, but conversations between the characters help readers see that one reason for this success is the hard work of the entire family.

This is an excellent choice not only for that beloved apple unit, but also for reading comprehension skills like identifying cause and effect relationships and synthesizing. Readers could use knowledge gained about apple farming from this book to make predictions about modern apple farming, especially as it exists on a smaller scale. Equally, this is a great book to curl up with on the couch, while the applesauce cooks in the Crock-Pot. We’ll be doing that this week.

{The books links in this post are affiliate links, and Read It, Make It! earns a small commission on any purchases made using them. Thank you!}