From School Library Journal
Grade 1–4—Farmer provides a wealth of information here. The process of grafting is clearly explained, as are the differences between apple juice and cider, the nutritional value of the popular fruit, and the apple in history and legend. A handy chart detailing the various kinds of apples and their appropriate uses is included, as is a page of facts and records and a recipe for apple pie. Watercolor illustrations feature a multicultural cast of smiling children. The pictures accurately reflect the text and are attractive, although a bit stiff. Libraries owning Gail Gibbons's Apples
(Holiday House, 2000) will still find this book useful for supporting those fall/apple units.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
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The author and illustrator of Pumpkins (2004) turn their focus to apples in this informative picture book. In a text that covers how "the most popular fruit in the United States" is grown and harvested, Farmer delves into both basic botanythe parts of a flower; how pollination occursand more advanced concepts, such as grafting. Children encountering plant science for the first time will need help puzzling through the challenging concepts and vocabulary; photosynthesis, for example, is alluded to but not fully explained. Later spreads offer a more accessible overview of apple varieties (pictured in a handsome, illustrated chart), nutrition, and historical significance. The watercolor-and-pencil artwork includes helpful, labeled diagrams as well as multicultural apple lovers, picking, eating, and enjoying the fruit, in the past and today. A recipe for apple pie and a list of more apple facts close this solid choice for science units. Pair this with Betsy Maestro's How Do Apples Grow? (1991) and Gail Gibbons' Apples (2000). Engberg, Gillian