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The Apple and the Arrow

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"Shoot, Father, shoot! I am not afraid." Walter's voice seemed to bring back his father's courage. He quickly raised the heavy crossbow to his shoulder as muscles rippled on his brown arms. He sighted the apple on his son's head. He pulled back the bowstring…

The legend of William Tell survived for more than seven hundred years. The Apple and the Arrow, winner of a 1952 Newbery Honor Medal, tells the story through Walter's eyes, as he and his father struggle for the freedom of their family, their village, and ...

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Overview

"Shoot, Father, shoot! I am not afraid." Walter's voice seemed to bring back his father's courage. He quickly raised the heavy crossbow to his shoulder as muscles rippled on his brown arms. He sighted the apple on his son's head. He pulled back the bowstring…

The legend of William Tell survived for more than seven hundred years. The Apple and the Arrow, winner of a 1952 Newbery Honor Medal, tells the story through Walter's eyes, as he and his father struggle for the freedom of their family, their village, and their country.

Eleven-year-old Walter Tell awaits the skillful demonstration of his father William, a Swiss freedom fighter, who will shoot an apple from his head.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Told from the point of view of William Tell's son, Walter, the 1952 Newbery Honor book The Apple and the Arrow by Mary and Conrad Buff recounts the 1291 Swiss struggle for freedom. Full-color and b&w illustrations highlight key points in the drama (including Tell aiming his bow and arrow at an apple atop Walter's head) as well as the breathtaking Swiss landscape. (July) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
The reissue of this classic Newbery Honor Book retains its value for another generation of young people. It relates the legend of the William Tell who refused to bow to the tyrant's hat and was forced to shoot an arrow through an apple on his son's head. Although there are a few discrepancies from the tale as it is told in Switzerland, the basic plot is the same. Tell does hit the apple, but he is arrested when Gessler learns that a second arrow was intended for him if Tell had harmed his son. Tell is released to steer the boat in which he is imprisoned. He then jumps free and kicks the craft back into the storm. He searches out Gessler and kills him, thus becoming a hero and clearing the way for the leaders of the cantons to form an independent republic. The illustrations are the major asset of this book. They accurately depict, in both color and black-and-white, the countryside and the clothing of Switzerland in the late 1200s.The text is a bit stilted and depends heavily on invented dialogue. The Swiss version of the tale does not have Tell as one of the one of the original canton leaders who met to organize the revolt. Another difference is that the Buffs indicate that Tell lived to an old age, while the Swiss legend has him dying in a swollen stream as he rescued a child. 2001 (orig. 1951), Houghton Mifflin, $5.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer:Phyllis Kennemer
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395185919
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 2/1/1974
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years

Customer Reviews

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  • Posted April 28, 2013

    It is the year 1290 and eleven-soon-to-be-twelve-year-old Walter

    It is the year 1290 and eleven-soon-to-be-twelve-year-old Walter Tell lives happily in the remote heights of the Swiss Alpine Mountains near the village of Burglen with his father William, who is known as the greatest bowman in the canton of Uri and perhaps even in the nearby cantons of Schwys and Underwalden, his mother Hedwig, his little brother Rudi, and their herd dog Prinz. Nearby also live their friend Marie the herd girl, Brother Klaus the monk, and Grandfather Furst. King Albrecht is the new ruler of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, but unlike his late good father Rudolph he sends cruel bailiffs like Gessler to live at nearby Altdorf and oppress the people.

    William Tell is one of 33 men who have met secretly at Rootli to formulate a plan to secure their freedom at the beginning of 1291. But it appears that Gessler suspects something. I suppose that nearly everyone has heard the story of how William and Walter go to Altdorf to sell furs. Tell refuses to bow down to Gessler’s cap which has been put on a pole in the middle of the town. Gessler is so angry that he punishes Tell by commanding him to shoot an apple off the head of his son. If he misses, both will die. But do you know “the rest of the story”? The legend of William Tell has survived for more than 700 years. Exactly how much of it is true and how much is fiction perhaps no one knows. But it is certainly a stirring account that resonates in the hearts of all people who love freedom and oppose tyranny.

    Told simply and well with a good eye for detail and setting from the viewpoint of young Walter, The Apple and the Arrow, which won a Newbery Honor Award in 1952, was first recommended to me in the catalogue of Love to Learn, a homeschool resource center. One reference to drinking wine occurs, but there is a great deal of emphasis on looking to God for guidance and trusting in Him. With its serious themes of independence and responsibility, it will appeal to both children, especially boys, and their parents. Conrad Buff was born in Switzerland in 1886, studied art in his native country and Germany, them emigrated to the United States in 1904, settling in Los Angeles, where he became a noted landscape artist. Along with his wife Mary, he coauthored and illustrated a number of children's books. Another Newbery Honor book (1931) which recounts the same events is Mountains Are Free by Julia Davis Adams.

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  • Posted January 21, 2013

    This is the exciting story of Walter, son of William Tell. Set i

    This is the exciting story of Walter, son of William Tell.
    Set in the early 1200's of Switzerland, young Walter has to face danger in the eye. The title of the book centers on the fact that the boy must trust his father to shoot an arrow at an apple that rests on Walter's head.

    It is a very interesting story, and I like the writing style very much.

    Bring your courage with you as you read Walter's story...

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