Applesauce Season

( 2 )


When the first apples of the season?Ida Red and Paula Red, Twenty Ounce, McIntosh, and Ginger Gold?show up in the city markets, it's time to take out the big pot and make applesauce. Eden Lispon's lovingly recounted description of a family's applesauce-making ritual describes the buying, peeling, cooking and stirring; the wait for the sauce to cool and the first taste. Mordicai Gerstein's paintings are full of the colors and flavors of the season: red apples, orange leaves, blue skies. Here's a lovely picture ...

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When the first apples of the season—Ida Red and Paula Red, Twenty Ounce, McIntosh, and Ginger Gold—show up in the city markets, it's time to take out the big pot and make applesauce. Eden Lispon's lovingly recounted description of a family's applesauce-making ritual describes the buying, peeling, cooking and stirring; the wait for the sauce to cool and the first taste. Mordicai Gerstein's paintings are full of the colors and flavors of the season: red apples, orange leaves, blue skies. Here's a lovely picture book celebrating an American family tradition.

2009 Parents' Choice Recommended winner

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[A] smartly observed, warm-hearted tale . . . . Happily there is more than enough for seconds.” The New York Times Book Review

“The angle of Dad's shoulders as he squeezes between everyone to reach in with his spoon is one of those brilliant details in a children's book that conveys the warmth of family.” Newsday

“Exuberant watercolors follow along as a happy urban family buys, quarters, cooks, seasons, purees and savors the thick gooey stuff. Get out the food mill.” The San Francisco Chronicle

His [Gerstein’s] sly humor is a perfect match for the straightforward narrative, which ends with a recipe and a glimpse into the boy’s sunny future–full of apples, of course.” —School Library Journal

The final page includes a detailed recipe and an illustration of the boy, now a dad, in the kitchen cutting apples with his daughter, sharing a smile.” —Horn Book

“In a crowded orchard of apple books, this one stands out.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A wonderful tribute to her [Eden Ross Lipson] considerable contributions and talents.” —Starred, Publishers Weekly

“A wonderful story of apples, applesauce and family traditions.”—

Leonard S. Marcus
Tolstoy was wrong: happy families are not all alike. Some make applesauce, and those who do, the author of this smartly observed, warm-hearted tale implies, are almost surely the better for it…Gerstein, who won the 2004 Caldecott Medal for The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, draws in a wiry, kinetic line that touches down lightly on the page…these gravity-defying, dreamlike images seem to nod approvingly at the untamed spirit that drives the pursuit of any glorious obsession.
—The New York Times
Kristi Jemtegaard
Young readers will savor the process from beginning to end: choosing…washing, chopping, cooking, grinding, seasoning…and, of course, tasting…Lipson blends a lyrical text with a practical approach (adults do the chopping and handle the hot stuff), and Gerstein's exuberant illustrations washed in yellows and reds evoke the smell of sweet steam in a sunny kitchen.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
This is the first and only picture book by Lipson, the longtime New York Times children's books editor who died in May; it stands as a wonderful tribute to her considerable contributions and talents. Accompanied by Gerstein's (A Book) gemütlich vignettes, Lipson introduces a family of urban-dwellers whose ties that bind are made of applesauce. As the youngest child and narrator explains, from “just about the time school opens, when it is still hot and summery but vacation is over,” until December, the family, with Grandma at the helm, comes together to produce pots and pots of homemade puree. Lipson's down-to-earth lyricism makes it clear that every step of the process has its rewards—even shopping inspires the narrator to savor the panoply of apples at the farmers' market (“first come Ida Red and Paula Red, Twenty Ounce and MacIntosh, Ginger Gold and Jonagold”). Best of all, applesauce season brings out the connoisseur in everyone: in one of the funniest scenes, Gerstein shows the narrator and his family adjusting the seasoning with the scholarly intensity of chemists. The book is a terrific nudge toward establishing family cooking rituals—the recipe on the final page should close the deal. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Our narrator relates his delight at the arrival of applesauce season. Living in the city, the family purchases apples in the farmers' market, reveling in the many varieties available there. With his mother and grandmother, he goes step by step through making a pot of the sauce, from the cutting to the cooking, the grinding in the food mill, and the seasoning. It is the main character's dad who uses the applesauce, making something to go with it (e.g., pancakes) or using it to make something else (e.g., apple cake). The whole family celebrates many different kinds of applesauce until the season is over. The final choice, between applesauce and apple pie, however, remains up in the air. Gerstein's sketchy, lively ink-and-mixed-media illustrations of the process add verve to what might have been an unexciting sequence. Scenes vary in size and contextual details, but each is consistently full of happy family togetherness with perhaps a touch of nostalgia. Appetites may be further stimulated by the varieties of apples depicted with the characters on the end pages, as well as the included recipe. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Urban meets bucolic in this charming family story that is narrated by a family's youngest child. "We live in the city. There are no apple trees, but there are farmer's markets where there are lots of apples." That's where the boy and his grandmother shop. They choose the fruit, wash it, cut it up, cook it, and finally run it through the food mill. Then comes the eating, "…plain, or with ice cream, or cottage cheese, or gingerbread, or cookies, or sliced bananas." This is not a long book but it's filled with enticing details. Even the names of the varieties are fun: Black Twig, King David, Northern Spy. A celebration of family ritual and slow foods, the story is in the best tradition of "show, don't tell." Gerstein's colorful paintings are edged with dynamic scratchy lines that convey a lively sense of movement. His sly humor is a perfect match for the straightforward narrative, which ends with a recipe and a glimpse into the boy's sunny future-full of apples, of course.—Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Flavored with family tradition and spiced with Gerstein's cheerful illustrations, this account of one family's love of applesauce hits the spot. One day "when it is still hot and summery, but vacation is over," Grandma says, "It's time for applesauce." The city-dwelling family buys apples ("at least three different kinds") at an outdoor market. The names and varieties of apples and the details of cooking change as the season progresses, with the subtle variations in the process lovingly detailed in both text and image. The "first sauce of the season" is celebrated and toasted at a special gathering of family and friends, while later Grandpa is remembered on his birthday with a candle-bedecked pie. The child narrator (who sports round, red glasses just like Grandma's) wonders whether he'll prefer pie to sauce when he grows up, while the illustrations project a future generation of apple lovers, a poignant touch for this last book by the late Lipson. In a crowded orchard of apple books, this one stands out for home or school apple- and/or family-tradition projects. Applesauce recipe appended. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596432161
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 8/4/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 769,454
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Eden Ross Lipson was children's book editor of The New York Times Book Review until 2005, and is the author of the authoritative New York Times Parent's Guide to the Best Books for Children.


Mordicai Gerstein is the author and illustrator of The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, winner of the Caldecott Medal, and has had four books named New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year. Gerstein was born in Los Angeles in 1935. He remembers being inspired as a child by images of fine art, which his mother cut out of Life magazine, and by children’s books from the library: “I looked at Rembrandt and Superman, Matisse and Bugs Bunny, and began to make my own pictures.”


He attended Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, and then got a job in an animated cartoon studio that sent him to New York, where he designed characters and thought up ideas for TV commercials. When a writer named Elizabeth Levy asked him to illustrate a humorous mystery story about two girls and a dog, his book career began, and soon he moved on to writing as well as illustrating. “I’m still surprised to be an author,” he says. “I wonder what I’ll write next?” Gerstein lives in Westhampton, Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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