Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship

Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship

by Edward Hemingway
     
 

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It takes a firm apple to stand up to bullies.

When Mac, an apple, meets Will, a worm, they become fast friends, teaching each other games and even finishing each other's sentences. But apples aren't supposed to like worms, and Mac gets called "rotten" and "bad apple." At first, Mac doesn't know what to do—it's never easy standing up to bullies—but after

Overview

It takes a firm apple to stand up to bullies.

When Mac, an apple, meets Will, a worm, they become fast friends, teaching each other games and even finishing each other's sentences. But apples aren't supposed to like worms, and Mac gets called "rotten" and "bad apple." At first, Mac doesn't know what to do—it's never easy standing up to bullies—but after a lonely day without Will, Mac decides he'd rather be a bad apple with Will than a sad apple without.

Edward Hemingway's warm art and simple, crisp text are the perfect pairing, and themes of bullying and friendship are sure to hit readers' sweet spots all year round.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hemingway’s spreads recall old campground postcards of the 1950s, with rainbows arcing over cloud-covered hills and orange-tinted sunsets. It’s a good setting for this otherworldly tale of an apple named Mac who forms a close relationship with the worm who takes refuge in his head one day. Although Will the worm turns out to be a stalwart friend—he’s supportive, friendly, and full of good ideas—the other apples jeer: “Mac’s a rotten apple!” Tender interactions between Mac and Will (they read books together, and Will finishes Mac’s sentences) make it clear that Mac’s conclusion that he’d rather be “a Bad Apple with Will than a sad apple without him” is the right one. With sweet-tempered humor, Heming-way (Bump in the Night) concentrates less on the bullying and more on the intimacy Mac and Will share, allowing the two to retreat from the world to their cherished clearing on the hill. Although adults may detect a veiled romance—there’s just something about the way Mac looks at Will—the story works very nicely as a gentle celebration of friendship. Ages 3–5. Agent: David Kuhn, Kuhn Projects. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
“The story works very nicely as a gentle celebration of friendship.” — Publisher's Weekly

"Hemingway's story of friendship against the odds is sweet." — Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Bad Apple

"Charming . . . Social norms force Mac and Will apart; surprisingly effective, fruit-related pathos ensues before the two friends decide to buck convention and like whom they like. Who cares what anyone thinks?"—The New York Times

“The story works very nicely as a gentle celebration of friendship.”—Publishers Weekly

"Hemingway's story of friendship against the odds is sweet."—Kirkus Reviews

"Hemingway's oil illustrations are rich with autumn colors, and clever bits of action and humor conjure up a world children will want to return to. Meanwhile, the message about peer pressure comes through subtly but strongly."—Booklist

School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Mac is a shiny red apple with small, sticklike arms and legs. After he is caught napping in the rain, a little green worm emerges from his left temple, and the two hit it off immediately. They have great fun together and enjoy a variety of activities-until the other apples call Mac names and say he has worms. When the name-calling continues, Will disappears, leaving only a message scratched in the dirt. Going back to his old life, Mac realizes there's a hole in him that he cannot fill. He searches everywhere for his friend, realizing that "he'd rather be a Bad Apple with Will than a sad apple without him. "A variety of insects witnesses their reunion, as does a kind yellow apple. In a final nocturnal scene, as a smiling Mac floats in the watering hole, Will reads aloud by the light of two fireflies. The cheery, cartoon illustrations are done in oils on canvas. Despite its attractive artwork and clever puns, it is more than a tad unsettling to see the worm eating through the apple's skin. Unusual friendships between a worm and another creature are better depicted in Doreen Cronin's Diary of a Worm (HarperCollins, 2003). Youngsters may fondly recall Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar, eating through one red apple, but the idea of a friend eating a hole in another friend's head is disturbing. Wormy apples really do rot.—Mary Jean Smith, formerly at Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
Kirkus Reviews
Hemingway's story of friendship against the odds is sweet, but it has hitched its wagon to a very challenging vehicle. Mac is an apple, a polished piece of perfection, but he's an easygoing, humble bit of applehood. He enjoys art classes and a slow drift down the neighborhood stream. He likes a spring rain and is napping in the drizzle one day when a worm by the name of Will seeks shelter from the storm in Mac's head (Mac is pretty much all head). They become fast friends, with Will living in a hole he drilled in Mac's head. This just seems weird, not to mention painful. When the other apples in the neighborhood start giving Mac grief--"And no one in the orchard would play with them. NOT EVEN the crab apples. Crab apples can be so mean"--calling him a bad apple, readers will feel protective toward the little red guy. And it doesn't hurt, sympathy-wise, that the characters and settings are lusciously drawn. But still, there's that that hole in the head. Mac also has an image problem: "Mac knew he'd rather be a Bad Apple with Will than a sad apple without him," which compromises the whole notion of the beauty of friendship. He's not a bad apple, he's a good apple, uncontaminated by the pesticide of a culture that tells us only the glossily unblemished are worth a hoot. A mixed message shopped in a queasy jacket. (Picture book. 3-5)
The New York Times Book Review
You and I have heard this story before, though not all children have, and some could use hearing it again. Hemingway…works charming enough variations on the formula to please even the most jaded of adult readers, or at least me, and his cheerfully innocent illustrations are affecting.
—Bruce Handy

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399251917
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
08/02/2012
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
179,967
Product dimensions:
10.24(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.42(d)
Lexile:
560L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for Bad Apple

"Charming . . . Social norms force Mac and Will apart; surprisingly effective, fruit-related pathos ensues before the two friends decide to buck convention and like whom they like. Who cares what anyone thinks?"—The New York Times

“The story works very nicely as a gentle celebration of friendship.”—Publishers Weekly

"Hemingway's story of friendship against the odds is sweet."—Kirkus Reviews

"Hemingway's oil illustrations are rich with autumn colors, and clever bits of action and humor conjure up a world children will want to return to. Meanwhile, the message about peer pressure comes through subtly but strongly."—Booklist

Meet the Author

Edward Hemingway lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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