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
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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 WeismanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved