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Johnny Appleseed: The Legend and the Truth Hardcover – August 26, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–4—Yolen relates both fact and legend in this brief biographical piece about John Chapman, know best as Johnny Appleseed. Against each double-page painting, the text is set in a creamy rectangular box that has the appearance of a frayed-edge leaf torn from an old book. At the top is a rhyming quatrain followed by the refrain, "Johnny, Johnny Appleseed" (e.g., "Learns to write,/Learns to read,/First word he pens/Is apple seed./Johnny, Johnny Appleseed"). Information about Chapman's life appears under the verses; it details his growing desire to travel west, his love of nature, and his interactions with Native Americans and settlers. Tidbits about Chapman, his family, his travels, and the heritage he left are also included. While sources are mentioned for a few of these facts, there are no source notes or acknowledgments for most of the seemingly factual information related here. Burke's thickly painted illustrations in rich hues of greens and browns, blues and yellows range from folk style to several realistic portraits and one lifelike study of an open pair of hands holding apple seeds. An author's note adds some details of legends that spread about Chapman's feats and his unusual lifestyle. Will Moses's Johnny Appleseed: The Story of a Legend (Philomel, 2001), written in the rambling style of an old yarn, is filled with verified factual details of Chapman's life and includes a bibliography. Gwenyth Swain's Johnny Appleseed (Carolrhoda, 2001), written in easy-reader format, includes both a chronology and bibliography.—Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In this comely, homespun picture-book biography, Yolen assembles the fact and fiction surrounding America’s favorite orchardist into a tale both substantive and lyrical. Successive two-page spreads conform to a careful organizational structure. Set on backgrounds that look like weathered pieces of parchment, each block of text features a stanza of verse that celebrates legend and a segment of history, wherein the author shares the truth beneath the myth. At the bottom of the page, a short note, THE FACT, elucidates the story, often citing sources and quoting primary material. By strictly maintaining her tight format, Yolen holds together the multiple narratives, offering a product that works both as colorful yarn and biographical study. Similarly, Burke’s striking paintings conform to a natural, yarn-dyed palette of apple reds, forest greens, meadow golds, and midnight blues, echoing Yolen’s piecework approach to the exposition with a subtle quilt motif. The reader, cradled in the boughs of such careful craftsmanship, is left with a story as sweet and nutritious as the fruit Johnny Appleseed sowed. Grades K-3. --Thom Barthelmess
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 880L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060591358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060591359
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,797,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born and raised in New York City, Jane Yolen now lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. She attended Smith College and received her master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts. The distinguished author of more than 170 books, Jane Yolen is a person of many talents. When she is not writing, Yolen composes songs, is a professional storyteller on the stage, and is the busy wife of a university professor, the mother of three grown children, and a grandmother. Active in several organizations, Yolen has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, was president of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1986 to 1988, is on the editorial board of several magazines, and was a founding member of the Western New England Storytellers Guild, the Western Massachusetts Illustrators Guild, and the Bay State Writers Guild. For twenty years, she ran a monthly writer's workshop for new children's book authors. In 1980, when Yolen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts, the citation recognized that "throughout her writing career she has remained true to her primary source of inspiration--folk culture." Folklore is the "perfect second skin," writes Yolen. "From under its hide, we can see all the shimmering, shadowy uncertainties of the world." Folklore, she believes, is the universal human language, a language that children instinctively feel in their hearts. All of Yolen's stories and poems are somehow rooted in her sense of family and self. The Emperor and the Kite, which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1983 for its intricate papercut illustrations by Ed Young, was based on Yolen's relationship with her late father, who was an international kite-flying champion. Owl Moon, winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal for John Schoenherr's exquisite watercolors, was inspired by her husband's interest in birding. Yolen's graceful rhythms and outrageous rhymes have been gathered in numerous collections. She has earned many awards over the years: the Regina Medal, the Kerlan Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Society of Children's Book Writers Award, the Mythopoetic Society's Aslan Award, the Christopher Medal, the Boy's Club Jr. Book Award, the Garden State Children's Book Award, the Daedalus Award, a number of Parents' Choice Magazine Awards, and many more. Her books and stories have been translated into Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Afrikaans, !Xhosa, Portuguese, and Braille. With a versatility that has led her to be called "America's Hans Christian Andersen," Yolen, the child of two writers, is a gifted and natural storyteller. Perhaps the best explanation for her outstanding accomplishments comes from Jane Yolen herself: "I don't care whether the story is real or fantastical. I tell the story that needs to be told."

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By louisa on November 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My 5 yr old Grandson asked me for a book on Johnny Appleseed, "You know, Grandma, he was a REAL PERSON!" This book helped him to know the difference between a myth and the truth. It was not so complicated he couldn't understand it and it went to show-and-tell, he was so proud to have the "Truth" book!
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By John R Herringer on November 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A Good read for your starting reader. Our 6 year old loved it and enjoyed illustrations. Story of Johnny Apple Seed was informative.
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By Loresa Finton on October 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The second graders enjoyed the story/information as much as they enjoyed the beautiful illustrations.
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By Sara on February 12, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book about Johnny Appleseed.
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