Monday, September 8, 2008

A is for Awesome

I wasn't planning to compose anything today, simply to post the book reviews I wrote over the weekend. (scroll down or click here to find those) But I just had to tell ya'll about this book.

It's called simply Apples and it's written by Jacqueline Farmer. It was a random find at the library last week. For my little pre-K "program" with A (4) I am doing a "Letter of the Week" theme. We're on our 3rd official week of school, but we're still doing fun "A" things, because I keep finding fun things to study and do! (Plus it's the first letter of his name and therefore kind of a pet.)

Naturally this book caught my eye as it lay on the shelf, discarded by some previous library visitor. Apples not only start with "A," but are a fun topic for this time of year. I liked the cover art; I picked it up and thumbed through a couple of pages. Looks good - let's get it.

We finally got around to reading it today and I have to say it is a very good example of what Charlotte Mason would call a "living book." The illustrations are excellent and beautiful. It is written by one author who loves - or at least has thoroughly researched - her subject. It is very narrative in its writing style, making it a good read aloud for all ages. Best of all - it is very detailed in its information, but presents that information in a very accessible way for children.

The surest way to know a book has impacted its readers is the discussion that follows. All of us - from myself to an almost 14-year-old boy to the Littles - have been chatting about the amazing things we learned from one simple reading of this book. Here are some of our favorites (as narrated to Daddy at dinnertime):
-M (9) learned that apples were given as part of a marriage proposal in ancient Greece - if the girl caught the apple, the answer was "yes!"
-C (11) was impressed to learn that 50% of an apple's vitamin C is contained just under the skin. He was also proud to remind all of us that he eats the discarded peel when I make apples for the Little ones.
-S (13) took an interest in the propagation of apple trees by grafting - not seeds.
-A (4) kept telling Daddy that the farmer picks the good apples before they fall off the tree.
-Mommy learned several things, but perhaps the most interesting was that planting an apple orchard was required by law when homesteading.

The real joy of this book is that the facts listed above (plus a lot more) were not tedious to read about. We didn't even realize how much we were learning as we listened to the story of Apples. Among the lovely illustrations were a couple of diagrams that we plan to incorporate into our nature journals. All in all a very good read. I think M summed it up when she proclaimed, "I never knew you could learn so much from a picture book!"


Mary@notbefore7 said...

Requesting it at the library now because we study Johnny Appleseed this week, and the apple study is going to carry into next with "How to bake an apple pie and see the world" from FIAR! Thanks!

mom24 said...

There's nothing like a good book that can be used for all the ages in the house! This one sounds great too! September is perfect for apple books and projects and pies.
I notice Beowulf on your sidebar. What is Rebsamen's version like? I purchased Michael Morpurgo's adaption to read to 7yo 2nd grader because I liked his other book about King Arthur and the illustrations are wonderful. He is enjoying it but goodness is it gorey. The word usage is wonderful, however and he's learning a lot about the early northern people (Vikings).

mom24 said...

Forgot: if you have time, drop by Joy In the Journey and leave a comment.

She's a hs neighbor of mine, new to blogging. Mom of five and a lovely woman!

she who must be obeyed said...

Love the book - and it has inspired me to do some things with 4yo this year. One question - how do you get the images of the books in your blog? - everytime I try it does not seem to work.

my5wolfcubs said...

I just got this book from the library as a go along to How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World that we're going to be using for Five in a Row. Thanks for sharing the good review!

Robert said...

Nice to see my mini-me S. doing the job! I was quite taken by grafting at that age as well.