HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Red Are the Apples
Authors: Marc Harshman and Cheryl Ryan
Illustrator: Wade Zahares
Publisher: Sandpiper, republished in 2007
ISBN-13: 978-0152019174 (hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0152019170 (hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0152060657 (paperback)
ISBN-10: 0152060650 (paperback)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 3 and up
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Harshman, Marc, and Ryan, Cheryl. Red Are the Apples (published in 2001 Harcourt Children’s Books). It is autumn. What can a person find in the garden? There is a bountiful harvest of bright colors with lots to explore. Inviting rhymes and the antics of a boy with his wagon and his pets, including two hens, and a black cat promise a full day of fun for young readers as they stroll through the plentiful fields of a farm and pick out all the luscious fruits and vegetables in a colorful fall garden. Together they inspect lima beans, corn, pumpkins, beets, eggplants, and apples, which are all ready for harvest. Each rhyme begins with a color, as in “Yellow’s the corn/ on stalks growing high,/ shading the pumpkins/ and reaching the sky.” This is one of the seasonal-themed books that we checked out of the library for our younger son Jeremy when he was beginning to read to accompany his science studies.
Red Are the Apples is a wonderful introduction to farm life for rural dwellers and city folks alike. Each double-page spread takes the young reader through different crops and various activities of a thriving farm, including canning and cider making. The beautiful illustrations done in zesty pastels on paper are well designed with full-page pictures throughout and offbeat perspectives, and the autumn colors are bright, overall portraying the feeling of fall. “Purple are the eggplants,/shiny and smooth,/nestled near Scarecrow,/who’s missing a tooth;” and, “Black is the hat/on Scarecrow’s head./It points to the sky/and the crows overhead.” The book ends on a pleasant note, with an expression of thanks for the abundance of harvest time. Children will also delight in the search-game fun of finding the hen that appears on almost every page. The simple writing makes it great for young children.