Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Apples to Oregon

Apples to Oregon

Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrator:  Nancy Carpenter 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 8
Atheneum, 2004   ISBN: 978-0689847691

Hold onto your hats and prepare for the “slightly true” story about how a very determined man had the “most daring adventure in the history of fruit.” It was quite simple really; the narrator’s daddy loved his fruit trees (especially the apples) so much that when it was decided that the family should travel to Oregon from their home in Iowa, he made plans to take hundred of his beloved trees with him.

Thus it was that this extraordinary man and his family set off across the country with two covered wagons, one of which was filled with fruit trees. For the children it was a grand adventure, being like the pioneers and sleeping under the stars every night. Of course there were more than the usual number of problems that had to be overcome. How, for example, was one to get the “nursery wagon” across the great Platte River? Daddy found a way but it was his brave and generous children who made the feat possible. In fact Daddy’s family go through a great deal for those baby trees and one cannot help admiring them for their dedication to Daddy’s cause.

A tall tale that is based on a true story this book is sure to entertain the whole family. Fast paced and full of spirited oil paintings, it is a perfect for reading aloud. In the back of the book the author supplies information about the real man who brought seven hundred plants and young fruit trees from Salem Iowa to a farm just south of Portland Oregon.