Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

One Green Apple

One Green Apple

Eve Bunting
Illustrator:   Ted Lewin 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Clarion, 2006   ISBN: 978-0618434770

It is Farah’s second day in her new school and she is going on a field trip to an orchard with her class. Farah cannot speak or understand much English but she knows that some of her classmates do not like her. Her father has warned her that she might get a less than friendly reception from some people who don’t like the country that she is from. Even though she knows this, their angry looks still hurt her inside. She knows that the headscarf that she wears makes her stand out and she does her best to keep to herself.

There are some though who try to make friends using simple words, sign language, and smiles to communicate with her. Farah’s teacher explains to her that every child needs to pick one apple from a tree. Farah choses a tree that “does not seem to belong.” The tree is like her and the apple she picks is green and small.

Next the children go to a small building and they put their apples into a special machine which they will use to squeeze the juice out of the apples that they have picked. To get the juice to flow they have to push hard on a handle. It is hard work and Farah joins in. Then she and her classmates drink the apple cider that they have pressed and Farah’s classmates find ways to show her that they want to make friends with her.

In this luminously illustrated picture book Eve Bunting perfectly captures what it feels like to be a new immigrant in today’s world. Farah’s loneliness is almost palpable and it would be hard not to feel sorry for her. It is heartwarming to see how she, like the little green apple she picks, can become part of a group even though she is different from everyone else. Just like the cider and the little green apple, Farah’s class is richer for having her in it.