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Apples to Oregon: Being the (Slightly) True Narrative of How a Brave Pioneer Father Brought Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Grapes, and Cherries (and Children) Across the Plains (Golden Kite Awards) Hardcover – September 1, 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 4–In this original tall tale, Delicious describes her family's journey from Iowa to Oregon in the 1800s. Daddy loves the idea of going west but he can't bear to leave his apple trees behind. He constructs two special wagons, fills them with "good, wormy dirt," and packs in hundreds of plants and trees. "Apples, ho!" he cries, and off they go. When they reach the Platte River–"wider than Texas, thicker than Momma's muskrat stew"–Delicious helps her father build a raft to ferry the seedlings–and the family–across. Everyone makes it to the other side, just barely. Before long, a hailstorm hits, scattering bonnets, petticoats, and even Daddy's drawers. Other larger-than-life challenges await the family, but inventive Delicious always manages to save the day. Soon, they're all floating down "the mighty Columbia." They plant those trees in Oregon soil, and everyone lives happily ever after. An author's note explains that this story is based loosely on Henderson Luelling, a pioneer who really did transport plants and fruit trees to Oregon in 1847. Hopkinson's version, of course, is just pure fun and make-believe. Carpenter's oil paintings are filled with vivid shades that reflect the changing scenery. Amusing details abound, and the slightly exaggerated humor of the pictures is in perfect balance with the tone of the text. The plucky heroine–wearing a bright red dress, white pinafore, and confident smile–often takes center stage. An entertaining choice for storytimes or an amusing supplement to units on westward expansion.–Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

K-Gr. 3. The pair that created Fannie in the Kitchen (2001) offers another food-related picture book for youngsters. When Papa decides to move from Iowa to Oregon his biggest concern is not his family but his apples--and his peaches, plums, grapes, cherries, and pears! He constructs a dirt-filled wagon to transport his fruit saplings, while his family travels in a smaller cart. Along the way, they encounter the requisite Oregon Trail hardships, but luckily daughter Delicious is clever enough to help her family (and Papa's precious darlings) arrive safely at their new home. Based loosely on the life of Henderson Luelling, who founded Oregon's first nursery in 1847, Hopkinson's alliterative tall tale is rich in language that begs to be read out loud ("'Guard the grapes! Protect the peaches!' Daddy howled"), and Carpenter's colorful oil paintings add to the exaggerated fun. Some apple facts and a historical note are appended. Kay Weisman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Series: Golden Kite Awards
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689847696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689847691
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.4 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #813,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Deborah Hopkinson is as award-winning of picture books, fiction, and nonfiction for young readers. In 2013 she received a Robert F. Sibert Honor and YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award honor for Titanic: Voices from the Disaster.

She has won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Text twice, for A Band of Angels and Apples to Oregon. Sky Boys, How They Built the Empire State Building, was a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor awardee. She lives near Portland, Oregon.

The Great Trouble, A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel won the OCTE Oregon Spirit Award and was named a Best Book of 2013 by School Library Journal and an Oregon Book Award finalist.

Deborah's forthcoming books in 2015-16 include: nonfiction about WWII entitled Courage & Defiance; Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig, illustrated by Charlotte Voake; a middle grade novel called A Bandit's Tale, The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket; a picture book about sea turtles called Follow the Moon Home (with Philippe Cousteau), and a historical fiction picture book entitled Steamboat School, illustrated by Ron Husband.

Visit her on the web at www.deborahhopkinson.com and follow her on Twitter at @deborahopkinson.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
So I was doing my usual Thursday storytime (as is my librarianly duty) to a group of open-mouthed red-cheeked youngsters when I happened to ask if any of them knew what a tall tale was. You could have heard a pin drop. Now there were roughly ten or so children ranging in age from nine to toddlerhood and amongst these not a single child (that would admit it) knew that great family friendly and thoroughly American art of over exaggeration. I was sorely aggrieved but read from Anne Isaac's marvelous, "Swamp Angel" and felt much better in the end. Since that time, I have come to the conclusion that it is the duty of every good honest citizen of our fair Etas Unis that writes for children to make at least one tall taleish picture book in their lifetime. So far, there are plenty of writer/illustrators out there shirking their duties, but Deborah Hopkinson and Nancy Carpenter are not among them. Between the two of them they've concocted a rip-roaring, snorting, fit to be tied narrative based on true events and spun into utter silliness and fantasy. The result is the fun freewheeling, "Apples To Oregon", and after reading it your tots may well want to make the trip themselves.

Delicious and her daddy are two of a kind. They both love their beautiful Iowan fruit orchard. And they'd give everything they have to preserve and protect those awesomely tasty trees. So when Delicious's daddy decides that the family should pull up stakes and head for Oregon, it's only natural that the trees should come along with. Trouble is, it's hard enough to get a family the size of Delicious's across the plains (there are eight or so children), let alone finicky fruit bearers. But her daddy's determined, so off go Delicious, her mother, father, and seven siblings to make it to Oregon.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the vegan version of "Oregon Trail," an ancient computer game that was once -played on the Apple IIe, and featured "blam-blam" cheesy sounds as you gunned down moose, dear, and bear. Here, there's no fishing or hunting, but you follow the same trail past Chimney and Courthouse Rock, ford a river, climb the Rockies, and raft down the Columbia River to Oregon. Although I wondered the book violated any copyright laws, all resemblance to the "Oregon Trail" ends there.

Unlike the game, there's no dysentery, crooked traders, stampeding animals, or cranky settlers. Instead, a plucky family travels from Iowa to Oregon with a gigantic wagon holding a holding a whole orchard of fruit trees: Apples, plums, cherries, pears, and peaches. The book is more enjoyable than I expected, given its resemblance to the game, mostly because of the colorful girl, "Delicious," who narrates the story, and the sometimes silly obsession of her fruit-minded father. When "Delicious" (at least her father didn't name her "Gravenstein") alerts us "Daddy was ready for the most daring adventure in the history of fruit," you know you're in for a clever and exciting tall tale.

On the way to Oregon, the family encounters nasty skeptical fellow travelers, weather changes, and natural obstacles. They build a raft and start paddling the Platte River, the "muddy drink started to pull us down":

"'The peaches are plummeting!' my sisters shouted."

"'The plums are plunging,' boomed my brother."

"'Don't let my babies go belly-up!" howled Daddy.

Apparently, Daddy's has unbounded concern for the apples of his eye...and he also loves his kids.
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Format: Paperback
My two-year-old wasn't particularly interested in this book, but my four-year-old loved it. The story is loosely based on the story of a pioneer man's journey to move are great number of fruit trees and his large family to Oregon. It is told from the first-person viewpoint of one of his daughters, who uses rich and folksy imagery to humorously convey the many hardships suffered (mostly by the fruit trees) on the trail. Reading the book aloud makes me inadvertently speak with a Southern accent.

Tall tales are a great way to introduce exaggeration and humor in literature, and is a genre that pre-schoolers and school-age children tend to appreciate.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Although a fictional story, a real pioneer Henderson Luelling did take a wagon containing 700 plants and young fruit trees west in 1847 just before the gold rush began.

This story features Ma and Pa, their eldest daughter, Delicious, and a whole host of little ones. It amused me that the family was more concerned with the plants getting water rather than themselves. Read how they managed to get across the Platte River only to then find themselves in a big storm trying to protect the trees with their clothes - "petticoats, trousers, hats - even Daddy's drawers!"

Great book! Happy reading!
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Format: Paperback
I can always tell when my son loves a book; after he reads it himself, he insists on reading it to me. This is just such a book. It is the charming "tall tale" of Delicious, a young girl who travels cross country with her family by "Prairie Schooner." Delicious' father is determined to bring his fruit saplings with him on the journey. Hilarity ensues.
Both my son and I loved that you could really hear the narrator's voice in the story, in terms of both the way she speaks, and in the way she spins her yarn. It's a wonderful story, and the illustrations are terrific too.
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Apples to Oregon: Being the (Slightly) True Narrative of How a Brave Pioneer Father Brought Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Grapes, and Cherries (and Children) Across the Plains (Golden Kite Awards)
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