Apple follows the life of an apple throughout the year, demonstrating the cyclical patterns in nature. The youngest readers will delight in following the journey of the bright red apple—the only splash of color in the otherwise black-and-white illustration—as it travels from tree, to harvest, to snack, to compost, and finally to sprout. A single word complements each illustration, urging early readers to reflect on each stage in the apple's life. Apple is acclaimed cut-paper artist Nikki McClure's very first ...
Apple follows the life of an apple throughout the year, demonstrating the cyclical patterns in nature. The youngest readers will delight in following the journey of the bright red apple—the only splash of color in the otherwise black-and-white illustration—as it travels from tree, to harvest, to snack, to compost, and finally to sprout. A single word complements each illustration, urging early readers to reflect on each stage in the apple's life. Apple is acclaimed cut-paper artist Nikki McClure's very first book, originally self-published and sold in a limited edition of just 200 copies. Now, 16 years later, it is available in wide release, and fans will relish the chance to own the book that launched McClure's signature style.
The art is gorgeous, the text is one-word-per-page minimal and the "story" is sprinkled with welcome surprises.
An afterword says that this is actually McClure’s first book, which she created in 1996, hand-bound, and sold locally. Small and square, it features a single word in block letters on each left-hand page, opposite one of McClure’s signature cutouts. A girl takes an apple from the pile her mother is using for pie (“sneak”), slips it into her school knapsack (“hide”), and leaves it on the playground (“forget”). The apple makes its way into the compost and then into the ground, where it sprouts: “Spring.” The technical ability required to use a single piece of black paper and a pair of scissors to represent intangibles like the movement of air or a reflection on the water is a rare gift; parents and children can spend rewarding time together merely figuring out how McClure (To Market, To Market) has created positive and negative space. For McClure, the apple—which adds a flash of red to the otherwise b&w images—joins the natural world to the human world, and adds beauty to its surroundings wherever it’s found. Ages 3–6. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
.K-Gr 1—Fourteen words follow images of an apple from the moment it falls from its tree, is gathered up and taken home, spirited off the kitchen counter by a child, shared with friends, and abandoned in the grass. From there it is picked up and composted and, after a long winter, it sprouts anew. Paper-cut artistry broadens the brief text while the contrast of the apple's red against black and white background draws the eye on each page. Seasonal views are not forgotten, with four panels displaying branches of the trees through glances of a passing year: "Forget," "Quiet," "Return…." The apple left beside a half-eaten sandwich in the tall grass rests under a night sky and then falls under the spade into compost. A summary of the life cycle of an apple tree is appended. The book is eye-catching from the cover, but the brief text will need explanation; the emphasis on the cycle of life makes this a useful classroom and library addition.—Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX
Primitive-looking cut-paper illustrations depict an apple's travels from tree to kitchen to backpack to picnic and eventually into soil, where it takes root as a new seedling. Run your fingers across this satisfyingly square book's cover and feel the subtle, smooth outlines of a ripe apple and simple letters. You'll immediately sense the solid, soothing storytelling at work inside, achieved through astute manipulations of paper. McClure's masterful cut-paper pictures appear more chunky and primitive here than in other works (To Market, to Market, 2011, etc.), appropriate in a book about plant processes as old as the Earth. Solitary verbs centered on white left-hand pages definitively describe the apple's journey. Their red, all-uppercase, hand-drawn block lettering compliments rustic black-and-white pictures that look a lot like whittled woodblock prints. Beginning readers can latch onto these firm words, point at their hefty letters and discern sounds and meanings. Older readers will appreciate McClure's use of a velvety, Valentine red to highlight the apple; these isolated instances of color pull children into each leg of a small odyssey, making a little apple's peregrinations seem deserving of acute attention. Backmatter includes "The Life Cycle of an Apple Tree" and "Composting," described in simple language that manages to be both sophisticated and conversational. Four panels capturing the four seasons sit on the opposite page: a summation of an apple's year in pictures and an assured ending. This deconstructed lesson in plant regeneration, composting and life cycles will reach apple-eating readers of many ages. (Picture book. 3-8)
Nikki McClure is a self-taught cut-paper artist known nationally for her calendar and gift line. She is the author and illustrator of Collect Raindrops, Mama, Is It Summer Yet?, and To Market, to Market and the illustrator of All in a Day, written by Cynthia Rylant. She lives in Olympia, Washington. Visit her online at nikkimcclure.com.