It’s back to school time, and that means that many of you will be planning preschool lessons all about apples. I have six apple trees in my yard so for me apples signal fall and so do these apple picture books. I hope you are ready to head back to school and if you need help planning check out our Apples thematic unit for preschool. Many of the books here would be perfect for the circle time activities included in the unit.
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One Green Apple by Eve Bunting is a treat. Sometimes learning about the world means learning about people next door to us. The book is not about apples really at all. Instead, it’s about Farrah, a little Muslim girl who has come to the United States from an unnamed country and her first day at school. The day is spent on a field trip to an orchard, where the children pick apples and make apple cider. I immediately related to this as my first day of work at a school in my new country was trying. Although I could speak the language unlike Farrah, it was still daunting to be new in unfamiliar territory. The melting pot analogy is turned into an apple cider one as all the children throw their apples in and work together to press it into cider, even Farrah helps.
Apples by Jacqueline Farmer is not a book to snuggle up and read before bed or really anytime with a toddler, but wow it’s a wonderful resource. I didn’t know how much I didn’t know about apples until I read this book. It’s packed full of detail about how they are grown, where they came from originally, varieties and more! I urge teachers and homeschooling parents to check this out if you are doing any study about fruit, or apples.
The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall is a cute look at a year in the life of an apple tree from the perspective of a little girl. From the bare branches of Winter to the pretty flowers in Spring we follow along not only with the tree but with a family of robins as they develop along with the fruit. The illustrations by Shari Halpern are so expressive that a child could easily read the pictures and enjoy this book independently even if they aren’t reading yet. I dare you to read this and not consider making apple pie after. If you need a recipe there is one at the end of the book!
Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins is a simple but effective and delightfully bouncy countdown book. The tree starts with ten red apples, but one after another farm animal swipes an apple, despite the farmer’s protests. The sing-song rhymes are fun to read out loud, and my son enjoyed announcing the numbers as we counted down. The illustrations look like wooden toys. I thought they were charming, but my toddler told me the farmer’s wife scared him!
“A” Was Once An Apple Pie by Edward Lear and Suse MacDonald is an adaptation of the classic Edward Lear poem that had both my children transfixed. The bold, bright colors kept my ten-month-old daughter wide-eyed the whole time. The playful way Suse MacDonald adapted the text had my son listening from A-Z as well. It was incredibly fun to read aloud. It left me tongue-tied at times which resulted in us all giggling hysterically in a heap. A book that can do that is a must-have in my opinion.
Our Apple Tree by Gorel Kristina Naslund is a straight forward yet a beautiful book about a year in the life of an apple tree. I like that it starts in winter because so often apple tree books start in the fall with the harvest. The pictures are delightful, and two little tree fairies follow along with you as the tree goes through its life cycle. My son had very little interest in the book, but it wasn’t the book. At two, he just wasn’t able to sit for so much information. This book and apple picture books like it are perfect for 4-8-year-olds.
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman cost me a total of 15 cents at a thrift store. It is worth so much more than that. This book is a gem! Perfect for older preschoolers who are getting a sense of the world beyond their own home and city, this book takes you on a ride around the world! You follow the little girl to Italy, France, Sri Lanka, England, Jamaica, and back to Vermont! As soon as I read this my mind raced with classroom activities! I will be posting some soon. I LOVE this book and wish I had read it when I was still teaching. It would have been so much fun to teach geography with!
Apple Picking Time by Michele Benoit Slawson was not what I was expecting, it was so much more. I was expecting a basic book about picking apples at an orchard. This book is anything but basic, it’s dreamy, and while reading it, I almost felt as though I was back in time when a whole community would come to a standstill for something like apple picking. The protagonist is Anna a little girl who works hard in the orchard alongside her parents and grandparents. She isn’t as fast as her parents, but with hard work and the support of her family, she reaches her goal and fills a bin! I loved this book, I would suggest it for preschoolers and up.
The Apple Pie That Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson had me tricked into thinking that it was a new edition of an old book. The retro look of illustrations hooked me, and it shocked me to see it was only published two years ago. The reader travels through all the elements that go into making a pie, not the recipe though. The story works backward from pie to the apples, the tree, the roots, and more. The message is one of interconnectedness and makes me feel equally important and small all at the same time. I think it’s useful to teach how everything in nature is dependent on other elements and can’t work alone. My son enjoyed the illustrations of the sun with a face and the little girl helping her father at every step. One of the best apple picture books.
Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace will not be returned to the library on time. We got it out today, and my son has had me read it to him three times, and his dad read it twice. It gets the three-year-old seal of approval. It also gets mine. The story is more than just a story about a family going apple picking at an orchard. It explains all sorts of apple facts. What I really love is that it also explains the different kinds of apples and their uses. Since each member of the family uses their apples for different purposes it drives that fact home. Great book for preschoolers going on an apple picking field trip, making applesauce or apple prints.
Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington is another favorite in our house. My son loves this author, and I like how simple but informative this book is. Your little reader will learn about the basics of what happens at an apple orchard, but you can take it further if you want. On many of the pages, there are chances to learn more. On the page about sorting and classifying, there are apples ready to count and sort by colors. I love the last page that says that Annie is so happy to have her own apple farm. I loved that message and thought it’s a lot more powerful than some may think. Women on farms in most books are “farmer’s wives”. I love that there is no one but Annie doing her own thing.
One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert is one of the most stunning apple picture books. I enjoy this author, but most of my praise for this book lands squarely on the illustrator Karla Gudeon’s shoulders. WOW. I just adore the look, and creativity of this book. The story follows the cycle of one apple from the orchard, to market back to seed, tree, and back into the hands of a child. I enjoy books like this that simply explain the cycles of the natural world to young kids. As I turned each page I gasped. It’s one of those books you just need to sit and look at. Each time you do you find some little detail you missed before.
More Learning About Apples to Go With Apple Picture Books
This unit includes printables for lacing, play dough, math, literacy activities, and signs for pretend play. As well as a science activity, color and size sorting, and fine motor activities. The circle time activities include graphing and dramatic play. The arts and crafts focus on both process and specific skills.