Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
The Apple Pie that Pappa Baked

The Apple Pie that Pappa Baked

Fall 2007 Picture Books
Ages: 5 & Up
Author: Lauren Thompson
Illustrator: Jonathan Bean
ISBN: 1416912401
Hardcover Price: $15.99
Shades of Wanda Gag! Despite the red foil apples on the cover, this cumulative tale has the retro look and feel of Gag’s classic picture books, even unto the black, yellow and red palette on the cover of her most famous work, Millions of Cats. Fortunately, the illustrator acknowledges his debt on the back flap, casting this as an homage rather than an imitation. Highly textured paper, heavy black outlines, and a distinctly rounded rural setting all add to the old fashioned feel. The storyline follows a young girl and her father from sun-up through a day of apple picking, pie making and finally - as the moon and stars come out - an apple pie picnic with the farm animals. It’s all about connectivity and circularity: apples, tree, roots, rain, clouds, sky, sun...and pie. Even though younger listeners may lose track of the ever lengthening sequence towards the end, the highly rhythmic text carries the story along while the cinematic progression of images dollies back and back, from a single apple to the entire earth before sweeping in at the end for a juicy close-up. One odd note is struck by the sudden introduction of plural pies in the final sequence despite an illustration that clearly shows a single sweet treat: a small but curious lapse in an otherwise pleasant production.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2007 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.

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