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Winterberries and Apple Blossoms: Reflections and Flavors of a Mennonite Year

Overview

With an evocative poem for every month of the year, young Naomi introduces us to her family and hosts a journey through the seasonal rhythms of her rural Mennonite community.

In the winter there’s a quilting bee with chattering, friendly women to warm the frigid night, visits to a general store with all its treasures, and the awakening of the sap in the sugar bush. Spring months bring the hard work of clearing the fields and the sweet reward of shoofly pies. Under the hot summer...

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Overview

With an evocative poem for every month of the year, young Naomi introduces us to her family and hosts a journey through the seasonal rhythms of her rural Mennonite community.

In the winter there’s a quilting bee with chattering, friendly women to warm the frigid night, visits to a general store with all its treasures, and the awakening of the sap in the sugar bush. Spring months bring the hard work of clearing the fields and the sweet reward of shoofly pies. Under the hot summer sun there’s home-made ice cream, baseball to play, and a horse-drawn buggy to drive. Then it’s autumn when the shy narrator must help sell produce at the road-ide stand, while she thinks of the snows to come. And all year long there are delicious, child-friendly recipes to make and sample.

The poems and recipes are perfectly complemented by Peter Etril Snyder’s lovely paintings. Winterberries and Apple Blossoms is a beautifully produced book, perfect for gift-giving, or sharing with anyone who appreciates simple, enduring values.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Naomi, a fictional Mennonite girl, shares the sights, sounds, and seasonal customs of her rural community in 12 evocative poems, one for each month of the year. Simple pleasures and daily responsibilities are at the forefront: maple-sugaring (“I close my eyes/ and breathe in/ the woodburning-mapley-sweet air,/ tasting spring through my nose”), bicycle rides, friendly baseball games, and selling the harvest’s bounty (“I lay the vegetables out in rows,/ forming a tabletop garden,/ then tighten my kerchief beneath my chin/ and wait”). Snyder, a painter making his children’s book debut, contributes smudgy, sunlit acrylic scenes that convey a close-knit family that works, plays, and prays together. Along with Forler’s graceful verse, and recipes for every season, it all adds up to a warm portrait of a community seldom found in the spotlight. All ages. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
“…sunlit acrylic scenes that convey a close-knit family that works, plays, and prays together. Along with Forler’s graceful verse, and recipes for every season, it all adds up to a warm portrait of a community seldom found in the spotlight.”
—Publishers Weekly
 
“…Together, Forler and Snyder offer readers of all ages a glimpse into Naomi’s world –by way of a poem and painting for each month of the calendar year…. Forler includes 12 recipes for traditional Mennonite desserts in keeping with the book’s calendar theme. Think vanilla ice cream made in coffee cans, Dutch apple pie and of course, Apple Blossoms, those delicious pastries filled with apples, brown sugar and cinnamon. Yum!”
Waterloo Region Record
Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
This is the story of Naomi, a young girl who is growing up in the Old Order Mennonite Community, where there are no computers, no cars, and no electricity for televisions or Gameboys. Her days are spent helping her mother in the house, doing chores and playing with, while she looks out for, her brothers and sisters. Naomi lives in America but her first language, that which she speaks at home with her family, is a German language called Pennsylvania Dutch. Naomi's school is a one-room building which she shares with children of all ages. Through poetry, the author has given the reader a look at Naomi's life and customs. The poem The Quilting Bee tells the reader about Naomi's first opportunity to work on a quilt with the adult ladies in her community. She describes the quiet and the sound of needles popping through the fabric as they go up and down. This is a custom that provides warm bedding for young couples or elderly adults who are a part of the community. Poems about buggy rides, bicycles, ice cream and roadside farm stands alert the reader to how different Naomi's life is from theirs, but also how alike it is. All children get excited when ice cream is being made or when Christmas morning comes around. This informative book will remind children that they are more alike than different. The Mennonites are valued members of their communities and towns. The reader has an opportunity to develop an appreciation for how they have chosen to go another way from the busy, polluted, electronic life that many of us live. Curriculum application would be in the Social Studies area as well as history, giving a historical perspective of the early 1900s in most homes. Reviewer: Joyce Rice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781770492547
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 10/11/2011
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 1,423,165
  • Age range: 3 months - 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Elmira, Ontario, Nan Forler has degrees in both music and education. She has taught junior kindergarten through to grade eight for over twenty years. For several years, she ran a cooking school for kids, where she shared her love of seasonal foods with children and their parents. Her first children’s book for Tundra, Bird Child, won many accolades. Nan Forler lives in Waterloo, Ontario.

Peter Etril Snyder was born in Waterloo, Ontario. He began painting at the age of twelve and attended the Ontario College of Art. In 1969 he began to paint Mennonite life, and since then, he has gained national and international recognition for his art and reproductions. In 1999, Snyder received his Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Wilfrid Laurier University.

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