Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Johnny Appleseed

Johnny Appleseed

Reeve Lindbergh
Illustrator:  Kathy Jakobsen Hallquist 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 3 to 6
Little Brown, 1993   ISBN: 978-0316526340

Hannah Goodwin and her family were early settlers of the frontier, and in the early days they had a visitor come to their log cabin, a tall, thin man who carried a bible and bags of apple seeds. This man would become a legend in his own time, and his story would be told again and again long after he was gone. Though it can be hard to separate fact from fiction there is no doubt that the man who visited the Goodwin homestead was a man of God, a good man who dedicated much of his life to giving to others. What he gave was his labour and orchards of apple trees. The man became known as Johnny Appleseed and he certainly made life a lot easier for countless settlers who sought new lives on the frontier.

Later, as an old woman, Hannah Goodwin tells her grandchildren about the visitor who planted apple trees on her land. Perhaps she hopes that the story will help the children better appreciate the value of the orchard which still gives so much to the Goodwin family.

With rich oil paintings rendered in a folkloric style and with a few stanzas of poetry per double page spread, this picture book is a fitting tribute to one of America’s great folk heroes. The artwork is full of small details that will delight young readers. At the back of the book the author provides some further information about Johnny Appleseed’s life.