Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyNo tall tale, this account of eccentric Johnny Chapman, who planted apple seeds far into the unsettled West, is grounded in facts. Ages 5-8. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Adele MujalThis is a lovely version of an eccentric bit of American history. The text describes a man with a different outlook on life-a man who believed that other creatures have just as much right to be on the earth as humans. Johnny Appleseed lived his life true to his philosophy; he carried news between the settled East and the newly settled West and planted groves of apple trees in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. Every other page presents a full-page illustration closely related to the text, and the paragraphs on the facing pages are decorated with more beautiful artwork. Johnny Appleseed became a legend and left a legacy that is still remembered and enjoyed. The author says some people thought he was crazy, but this book emphasizes the good he did.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalK-Gr 4Hodges's well-shaped, anecdotal account of the legendary Johnny Chapman presents the familiar eccentric wanderer who wore his stewpot on his head and gave away his clothes. The author credits Chapman with carrying more than apple seeds in trekking back and forth between east and west. "Often, Johnny would take a book apart and leave sections in cabins along his way, picking them up on his next visit." Root sets her jacket view of Chapman against glowing red and green apple tones, and her full-page watercolor scenes are lighthearted in tone and detail. Fragments of gold picture frames appearing sporadically around the paintings are an intriguing device. Artistic elements echoing the story appear in pieces of these frames, which fade away, opening the view suggestively. Both text and illustrations imply that the simple story of the itinerant planter, friend to all and given to religious visions, is grounded in truth yet exceeds literal fact. A bit of tongue-in-cheek and a suggestion of tall tale spark the felicitous blend of biography and folklore, which will be widely used and enjoyed. Dates and places of Chapman's birth and death ground the tale, but Hodges cites no sources; her concluding author's note briefly explains the historical milieu of the westward movement.Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
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