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Johnny Appleseed: The Story of a Legend Hardcover – September 10, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Employing an intriguing blend of biography, comparative literature and good old-fashioned yarn-spinning, Moses (Silent Night; The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) explores the life and times of Johnny Appleseed, the great tree hugger and tree planter from American folklore. Appleseed, who began life as John Chapman, born in Massachusetts in 1774, had always longed to "live as he wanted, free like the Indians and the animals," in the wild woods and undeveloped lands of early America. At the leisurely pace of a stroll through a country orchard, Moses fashions his own homespun account of Johnny's adventures by touching upon myriad legends and tales. According to the narrative, as a young man Johnny headed west to the frontier, where the ideas that formed his lifelong vision took shape: "apples were good for just about everything" and the versatile fruit was "just what the frontier needed." Living in the woods, often tattered and scruffy in appearance, Johnny roamed the wilds of western Pennsylvania and the Ohio frontier planting apple seeds and saplings and helping pioneers do the same. His reputation for kindness and generosity, as well as for his strange behavior, grew even after his death in 1845. Delicate, folk-art oil paintings capture the eccentric folk hero in his "outlandish hat a soup pot one day, a pasteboard cap the next" as well as America at its bucolic best a rolling land of fertile hills, farms and rivers and, of course, bountiful, blossoming apple trees. All ages.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 4-6. This picture-book biography of John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, is written and illustrated by a well-known folk artist. Starting in 1774, the year of Chapman's birth, Moses briefly covers Chapman's early childhood, and then quickly moves on to his young adult years, when he leaves home for the frontier. The bulk of the book documents Chapman's rich adult life and celebrates his odd ways. The book will augment a classroom unit on pioneer life or even folklore, but the text is too long and complex for the usual picture-book crowd, and it will appeal only to the older, most committed Appleseed fans. The paintings, however, from thumbnail size to almost full page, are filled with rich detail and are unforgettable. Kathy Broderick
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
The illustrations are lovely with the lanky Johnny through out. Moses starts his book with the birth of John Chapman in 1774, continues into his youthful years, and then his adult life. In the reading of this book I noted that it is not a straight biographical picture book, but it is full of both fact and legend with no distinguishing remarks between which is which. As an add-on read to a unit study, I find this book to be delightful, attractive in imagery and prose. However, I would not recommend this book for your sole study of John Chapman as it is not clear enough on the facts. The book is lovely and I'm very glad to have it for our study.
This book does display a beautiful folk art style. For best appreciation libraries should keep this book with the art or poetry/short story books. Schools should use this book along with other factual books to explore the richness of Johnny's legends and to teach the differences between historical fact and legends or myths.