Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Jacqueline Farmer
Illustrator:  Phyllis Limbacher Tildes 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Charlesbridge, 2007   ISBN: 978-1570916953

Apples are one of the most popular kinds of fruit in the world, and many people firmly believe that “an apple a day will keep the doctor away.” What many people don’t know is that apple trees are a member of the rose family and though apples have seeds, apples are not usually grown from these seeds. Instead, scions, little living apple tree sprouts, are grafted onto rootstock. The reason for doing this is simple; farmers want their apples to look and taste consistent, which is what they get when they graft scions onto rootstock. Trees grown from seed don’t always produce the kinds of apples the farmer wants.

   Taking care of apple trees in an orchard requires care and dedication. The trees need to be pruned and fertilized, and in the spring they need to be sprayed so the fruit is not damaged by insects. Often apple farmers put honeybee hives in their orchards so that the bees can pollinate their trees.

   Trees that are healthy can produce a lot of fruit and sometimes farmers have to remove some of the apples in midsummer so that only the best apples finish ripening on the tree. This practice also saves the trees’ branches from breaking under the weight of the apples.

   Apples are not only eaten raw. They are also used to make apple cider, apple juice, apple butter, apple sauce, and many people enjoy baking apple pies, apple turnovers, and other delicious apple creations. Apples contain vitamins and fiber that are good for people, and eating them raw with the skin on serves to clean teeth. It would seem that the old saying has merit, and eating an apple a day is indeed a healthy thing to do.

   In addition to describing how apples are grown and used, the author of this book tells us about the role of apples in history, and at the back of the book readers will find a recipe for traditional apple pie and a list of “Apple Facts and Records.”

   Readers will be intrigued to learn that the humble apples they eat without thinking have an interesting story, and they will have a new respect for the fruit that is eaten and enjoyed by millions of people around the world every day.