First Apple

First Apple

by Ching Yeung Russell, Christopher Zhong-Yuan Zhang

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Boyds Mills Press publishes a wide range of high-quality fiction and nonfiction picture books, chapter books, novels, and nonfiction


Boyds Mills Press publishes a wide range of high-quality fiction and nonfiction picture books, chapter books, novels, and nonfiction

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
In First Apple, nine-year-old Ying manages to treat her grandmother to a taste of this expensive delicacy. On the way, she learns a lot about dealing with bullies, about her brother, and about herself. We learn about life in China at the end of the last century. Vivid descriptions of sights and sounds make us feel that we're somewhere else-and tastes! An apple, Ying finds, is crunchy but not like sugarcane, and sweet, but not like mango or papaya. It's just like the schoolbook says-sweet and crunchy! This is a Parents Choice Award-winning book.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
In a series of 3 books, Ching Yeung Russell writes about growing up in China in the late 40's. Many of the incidents are based on her family's stories. Beginning with First Apple continuing on with Water Ghost and now Lichee Tree, readers develop an appreciation for life in a Chinese village and the universality of growing up. Ying, 9, lives with her grandmother, Ah Pau, who always reminds Ying that no matter how bad things get, there will be a turning point. School problems, dealing with bullies, saving something precious only to have it destroyed or lost are common in every culture. Ying's approach to life reminds me of a Chinese Ramona.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-This lively family narrative is set in China's rural south during the 1940s, although the war and revolution of the period are not a part of the story. The first-person account is presented by eight-year-old Yeung Ying, an impulsive, appealing protagonist. When she was five, her mother and father moved to Hong Kong (for reasons that aren't explained), and she has lived with her grandmother in a small village southeast of Canton ever since. As Ah Pau's 71st birthday approaches, Ying discovers that the woman has always wanted to taste an apple, a rare and expensive commodity, and decides to buy one to share with her. Her constantly frustrated efforts to beg, earn, or even steal money will lure readers into her culture. While they will be intrigued to find such a common fruit described as exotic, they will find Ying's relations with her family, friends, and the class bully to be quite familiar. Black-and-white paintings, sometimes embellished with calligraphy, add to the authentic ambiance of the text.-Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA
Susan DeRonne
After a slow start, the author engages the reader in a fast-moving tale of nine-year-old Ying's determination to buy her grandmother an expensive and exotic birthday gift--an apple. Neither Ying nor her grandmother have ever tasted an apple, and Ying plans to save half of it for her own enjoyment. The story develops as Ying meets with one problem after another trying to earn enough money so that she can secretly purchase the apple. She must deal with an obstinate cousin, a hateful classmate, and an indifferent shopkeeper. Grandmother's birthday comes and goes without the gift, yet Ying still perseveres. Large, simple illustrations complement the simple style of writing, though several similar Chinese names may be difficult for some readers. This is a sweet story with a moral, and it offers young readers a taste of Chinese culture.

Product Details

Highlights Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
6.41(w) x 9.27(h) x 0.64(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Ching Yeung Russell is the Winner of the 2012 Scholastic Asian Book Award for her book, Bungee Cord Hair. She was born and raised by her grandmother in Guangdong, China, and later moved to Hong Kong to join her family as a teenager. She worked as a teacher of Chinese Literature and a freelance writer, and has done presentations at ALA, IRA and other literary gatherings as well as author’s visits in various states. Ching wrote a series of four middle-grade novels (both in English and Chinese) and a picture book based on her childhood in China. She currently resides in Simpsonville, South Carolina with her husband, Phil Russell. They have two sons, Jonathan and Jeremy and a  grandbaby, Blake.

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