The Apple Orchard Riddle (Mr. Tiffin's Classroom Series)

The Apple Orchard Riddle (Mr. Tiffin's Classroom Series)

3.2 5
by Margaret McNamara, G. Brian Karas
     
 

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Mr. Tiffin and his students from the perenially popular How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? are back in this picture book about a school trip to an apple orchard!

In this playful, humorous, and child-friendly classroom story, the students learn a lot about apples and apple orchards—including how apples are harvested, how cider is made, and what the

Overview

Mr. Tiffin and his students from the perenially popular How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? are back in this picture book about a school trip to an apple orchard!

In this playful, humorous, and child-friendly classroom story, the students learn a lot about apples and apple orchards—including how apples are harvested, how cider is made, and what the different varieties of apples are—while trying to solve a riddle. The book also celebrates how some children learn differently than others.

Margaret McNamara and illustrator G. Brian Karas bring us another fun and educational picture book.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Sarah Harrison Smith
Karas…boosts the flavor of this sweet story with soft pencil line and rich, muted colors.
Publishers Weekly
Mr. Tiffin and his loquacious students take a field trip to an apple orchard in this companion to How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? (2007). Before Farmer Hills (who is, refreshingly, a woman) gives a tour, Mr. Tiffin challenges the kids to solve a riddle: “Show me a little red house with no windows and no door, but with a star inside.” The students absorb the farmer’s explanation of the orchard’s operations as they visit the apple storage barn, cider press, and apple-peeling machine, while considering whether these places might hold the key to the riddle. McNamara’s conversational narrative lets the characters’ personalities emerge, especially know-it-all Elinor, intuitive Mr. Tiffin, and daydreamer Tara, who does things in her own time and in her own way, and who eventually comes up with the answer to the riddle. Karas’s wispy and loose mixed-media cartoons effectively portray the orchard’s operations and capture the camaraderie among the students and their teacher. This good-humored story concludes with a note offering extra apple and orchard information. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
In this follow-up to How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? (2007), a field trip to an apple orchard presents an occasion for daydreaming Tara to solve a riddle posed by her teacher, Mr. Tiffin. While she and her classmates learn about various kinds of apples from Farmer Hills, they also puzzle over the titular riddle: "Show me a little red house with no windows and no door, but with a star inside." After several wrong guesses, the class gives up, but contemplative Tara comes up with the correct answer: an apple. The "star inside" is the group of little seeds at the heart of the apple that Tara spies when she cuts hers in half at the middle. How is an apple a house? It can be a house for a worm, as, after all, "In a riddle, anything goes," according to Mr. Tiffin. Throughout the book, the children enjoy cider and doughnuts, while also seeing how they are made. Paired with Karas' distinctive, stylized pictures rendered in gouache, acrylic and pencil of the class' trip, the simple story is ideal fodder for teachers to use in anticipation of their own apple-orchard field trips, particularly since it includes backmatter devoted to "Apple Orchard Facts." A sweet, slice-of-school-life story. (Picture book. 5-7)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
When Mr. Tiffin's class boards the bus for a field trip, Tara is busy daydreaming as usual. Arriving at the apple orchard, she lags behind. Farmer Hills tells them about the tour they will take to see the apples picked and cider made. The Mr. Tiffin gives them a riddle to solve: "Show me a little red house with no windows and no door, but with a star inside." As the class tours the orchard, learning about the apple varieties, Tara thinks about the riddle. They all watch the cider being made and the apples peeled. Meanwhile they think about the riddle and some wrong answers. At the end of the tour, they all have cider and doughnuts except Tara. As she eats her apple she solves the riddle. This somewhat didactic story begins when eight apple varieties appear on the end pages. Created with gouache, acrylic and pencil, the children are somewhat cartoon-y, with large heads and naturalistic bodies. The scenes in the orchard add information. Many apple orchard facts on the final page reinforce the teaching. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Mr. Tiffin and his class from How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? (Random, 2007) head out on a field trip. As the students tour Farmer Hills's orchard, they are introduced to many varieties of apples, get a chance to pick some, and watch how cider is made. Mr. Tiffin also gives them a special assignment: "Show me a little red house with no windows and no door, but with a star inside." The children offer many guesses, but it is Tara, the daydreamer among them, who solves the riddle while thoughtfully munching on an apple core. Karas's detailed pencil and acrylic illustrations show the youngsters engaged in lots of hands-on learning, from examining an old tractor to recording their observations in a notebook. A page of apple facts is included. This engaging story will spark fruitful curriculum discussion.—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375847448
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
07/09/2013
Series:
Mr. Tiffin's Classroom Series
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
723,478
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

MARGARET McNAMARA adapted this story from a riddle she learned from talking to teachers. "This book is for every child who learns a little differently," she says. Margaret is the author of How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?, also about Mr. Tiffin's class, called "illuminating" by Family Fun magazine and recommended as "a first-purchase consideration" by School Library Journal; The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot; and, most recently, George Washington's Birthday. Margaret McNamara grew up making pies and crumbles with the apples that grew in her backyard. She now lives in New York City.

G. BRIAN KARAS is the prolific, versatile, and award-winning illustrator of many books for children, including, most recently, Neville and Clever Jack Takes the Cake, which received four starred reviews. His other books include How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?; Are You Going to Be Good?, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; Home on the Bayou, recipient of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award; and Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!

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