• 695

By: Jacqueline Farmer / Illustrated by: Phyllis Limbacher Tildes

How do you like them apples?

The first apple orchard in the Americas was planted in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. Today, the average American consumes about sixty-five fresh apples each year. Where do so many apples come from? Jacqueline Farmer takes young readers on a field trip to the apple orchard to find out how apple growers turn root stocks and scions into the many different varieties of apples that we love to eat.

The book also traces the history of apples all the way back to the Stone Age—did you know that ancient Greeks believed apples represented love, and tossing an apple to a loved one was considered a proposal of marriage? Learn the truth about William Tell and his famous archery trick, find out about Johnny Appleseed and his mission to cover America with apple trees, discover the nutritional benefits of apples, try a delicious apple pie recipe, and bite into a bushel of apple facts.

Phyllis Limbacher Tildes's bright, fresh illustrations are like a crisp day in autumn when apple picking is at its peak.

Did you know?

  • October is National Apple Month.
  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest known apple weighed 3.2 pounds. The world’s longest apple peel, 172 feet 4 inches long, was carved by Kathy Wafler Madison on October 16, 1976.
  • Twenty-five percent of an apple’s volume is air. That is why it floats.
  • More than 7,500 varieties of apples are grown around the world. China grows 41 percent of all apples, making it the leading producer of apples in the world. The United States is the second largest apple producer. The states of New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan, and Washington are the biggest producers in the United States.
  • President John Adams drank a pitcher of apple cider every morning and credited it for his long life. He died at the age of 90.

Read an excerpt!

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Jacqueline Farmer, author

Jacqueline Farmer is the author of Pumpkins. She also supports Greensboro Beautiful, a program dedicated to tree replacement and environmental cleanup. She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Read more about Jacqueline.

Phyllis Limbacher Tildes, illustrator

Phyllis Limbacher Tildes is the author and illustrator of many children's books, including Animals Black and White, Eye Guess, and Will You Be Mine?

Read more about Phyllis.


Awards & Honors:


  • Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year
  • A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book


Editorial Reviews:


The author and illustrator of Pumpkins (2004) turn their focus to apples in this informative picture book. In a text that covers how "the most popular fruit in the United States" is grown and harvested, Farmer delves into both basic botany - that parts of a flower; how pollination occurs - and more advanced concepts, such as grafting. Children encountering plant science for the first time will need help puzzling through the challenging concepts and vocabulary; photosynthesis, for example, is alluded to but not fully explained. Later spreads offer more accessible overview of apple varieties (pictured in a handsome, illustrated chart), nutrition, and historical significance. The watercolor-and-pencil artwork includes helpful, labeled diagrams as well as multicultural apple lovers, picking, eating, and enjoying the fruit, in the past and today. A recipe for apple pie and list of more apple facts close this solid choice for science units. Pair this with Betsy's Maestro's How Do Apples Grow? (1991) and Gail Gibbons' Apples (2000).

School Library Journal

Farmer provides a wealth of information here. The process of grafting is clearly explained, as are the differences between apple juice and cider, the nutritional value of the popular fruit, and the apple in history and legend. A handy chart detailing the various kinds of apples and their appropriate uses is included, as is a page of facts and records and a recipe for apple pie. Watercolor illustrations feature a multicultural cast of smiling children. The pictures accurately reflect the text and are attractive, although a bit stiff. Libraries owning Gail Gibbons’s Apples (Holiday House, 2000) will still find this book useful for supporting those fall/apple units.

Curriculum Connections

Jacqueline Farmer’s Applesprovides a more detailed look at a fruit that is “pretty to look at and a treat to eat.” The text gets to the core of the subject, delving into such topics as grafting and cross-pollination, nutritional value, cultivation history, and even some apple lore. Easy-to-understand explanations written in a conversational tone and warm watercolor paintings keep this packed-with-facts treatment accessible to young readers.

School Library Journal's Focus on Food

Conversational text and warm-hued watercolors present a bounty of facts about theses American favorites, clearly describing the cultivation and harvesting, uses, and history of each fruit. From a clear explanation of grafting apples to a lively recounting of why people carve pumpkins, these books will inform and delight young readers.


ISBN: 978-1-57091-694-6

E-book PDF
ISBN: 978-1-60734-020-1
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 5-8
Page count: 32
8 1/2 x 11

If you like this book, you’ll enjoy these:
How Do You Raise a Raisin?