Friday, January 18, 2013

PPBF: The True Tale of Johnny Appleseed

Today for Picture Book Fridays, I bring you another retelling by master storyteller Margaret Hodges...



Written by: Margaret Hodges
Illustrated by: Kimberly Bulcken Root
Published by: Holiday House/New York
Copyright: 1997

Ages: 6 to 10

Themes: American legends, American biography, frontier and pioneer life: Midwest, apple growers, adventurers.




First paragraph: Johnny Chapman was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, in 1774. When he was a baby, his mother made him a little hammock and hung it on the bough of an apple tree. He could hear his mother singing as she helped his father harvest their crop of apples:

Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop;
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock...

Front flap: Some folks say that when the apple trees bloom white in the Spring, you just might catch a glimpse of someone moving among the trees at the far end of the orchard. And, if you do, you can make a pretty good guess that it's Johnny Appleseed come back go tend his beloved trees.
Johnny Appleseed was consumed by a single desire- to spread the beauty and bounty of the apple throughout our country-and he devoted his entire life to this mission. Barefoot, wearing a stewpot as a hat, he traveled across the untamed West, tirelessly planting apple trees. Johnny Appleseed was considered crazy by some, and a hero by others, but his story has captivated generations of Americans.

Why I like this book:

It portrayed Johnny as a warmhearted, relational person, with a desire to help others. I was amazed he took one book with him...the Bible, and read it to others along the way. At one point (he would purchase books on his journey), he tore out pages (horrors!) from a book and left them with homesteaders who had nothing to read. It became the first "mobile" library. Isn't that a hoot?
I also like the gentle illustrations which capture the character and spirit of this adventurer.


There were so many links to this topic, but here are three I chose:


Apple Activities for Kids

Johnny Appleseed Teacher Resources

Johnny Appleseed on PINTEREST


And, for more great book ideas, categorized by subject for use by teachers, librarians, and parents, see Susanna Hill's Perfect Picture Book list...truly an amazing resource!


20 comments:

  1. Jarm, this sounds delightful. I remember first reading about him in my 4th grade class along with Paul Bunyan. We had to define truth from fiction. I did a report on both.

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    1. Yes, it's difficult sometimes to distinguish between the two...good for your teacher! We should be more discerning in the classroom.

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  2. I've never heard about Johnny Appleseed as a librarian! Great choice and thanks for sharing.

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    1. Yes, Laura, I was surprised, too, how much he loved books and reading!

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  3. I love Johnny Appleseed! I think it is great when they give you tidbits of info that you never knew before. Even adults can learn from these books.

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    1. I agree, Janet! Many times I will read children's books on a historic topic to get background on a picture book I will be writing.

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  4. Oh, I love this version of Johnny Appleseed and how it portrays him. Love the info about his tearing out pages of his Bible to leave with homesteaders. I like your resources and activities.

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    1. Isn't that great, Pat?? It certainly gave me an entirely new perspective of him!

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  5. I'll need to read this - one of mss is about an apple tree lover.

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    1. Then you will certainly enjoy this one, Julie!

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  6. I love, love, love tall tales, and always did a series of them with the older elementary kids in the library. Sounds like a great retelling.

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    1. It is, Joanna, and it makes him larger than life. It's as if I've sat down with him and written his bio...it's that lifelike and compelling!

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  7. This book sounds excellent, Jarm. It's always fun to have historical people brought to life in an accessible way in picture books. There's something very appealing about Johnny Appleseed... even if some folks considered him a bit nuts :) Thanks for sharing this one!

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    1. Yes, you are right, Susanna. Many times, historic folks are more interesting than fictional ones!

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  8. I have heard of this very likeable chap, back in my school days! How cool he started the first library. Beautiful cover, caught my eye for sure!

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    1. He certainly had an endearing nature..he he drew folks to him like a magnet!

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  9. Jarm...wonderful book about an American legend! I've always loved Johnny Appleseed...he was an original in environmental awareness and preservation of nature. The links to resources and activities look great...thank you so much for sharing this one.:)

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    1. I completely forgot the environmental aspect of his work...where has my mind been? Thanks for the reminder, Vivian!

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  10. I've always loved the story of Johnny Appleseed and have not read this book. Sounds like a great one! Thanks!

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I would love to have you comment...thanks!

Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
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