About the Holiday
The apple is one of the world’s most valuable foods, enjoyed by people all around the globe. Apples come in so many crispy, delectable types and flavors—from sweet to tangy. Whether you like red, green, or yellow apples they are delicious in pies, tarts, muffins, salads, or just by themselves. Today, why not buy a bushel or a peck of apples from your favorite store or farm stand—or for even more fun, visit an orchard to pick them right from the tree! What you do with them is all up to your imagination!
By Mathieu Lavoie
Like a more earthy Romeo, Toto the worm gazes at his beloved—a rosy red apple. He “is down low” and it “is up high”. He needs a plan because he is determined to win that apple. Just then a bird flies by and Toto has an idea. Using their natural enmity, “Toto gets busy” and paints a twig in his image. He displays it in a prominent place, and hides. When the bird zooms in to snatch the delicious snack, Toto catches a ride on the bird’s tail feathers. Up he soars…to be deposited in…the wrong tree.
Now “Toto is here. The apple is over there.” As often happens “a squirrel approaches.” Watching it climb his tree, “Toto has an idea.” Once again “Toto gets busy.” He paints himself the red of the tree’s berries and when the squirrel passes him by, “Toto hangs on tight” to the squirrel’s bushy tail. Off Toto goes…into…the tree top. While the squirrel naps, Toto looks longingly at the apple of his eye so far below.
A falling leaf gives Toto another brainstorm. He paints a leaf with rainbow colors, and after a moment to bolster his courage…he “takes the plunge!” He flits and floats so close to…the ground. Landing gently on the grass, Toto is back to the beginning. Now what? Suddenly, he sees Didi and a friend arriving with a ladder. He hunkers down to scout out the situation. The ladder is placed against the tree trunk. The friend climbs the ladder. The apple lands in the hands of Didi, who…takes a big munch! “Toto is devastated.”
Just then Didi pivots to watch a passing airplane and drops the apple. Knowing “that it’s now or never,” Toto burrows in. As the plane disappears Didi again turns her attention to the apple…“and swallows Toto!” Poor Toto? No! “The apple is inside. So is Toto. Toto is happy.”
Mathieu Lavoie’s Toto’s Apple is part concept book, part tasty treat of absurdist fun that kids will eat up. As Toto’s predicament goes from bad to worse, his steadfast eye on his goal lends suspense and a growing comedic lilt to this very minimalist tale. Little Toto is an adorable hero, a tiny pink and red striped softie with one great love. His determination and clever solutions to his dilemma will not only make kids laugh but inspire them to muster their courage and think outside the box.
Lavoie’s simple but bold illustrations provide just the right amount of visual explanation of Toto’s changing fortunes (and facial expressions) for kids to enjoy the full, escalating, laugh-out-loud humor on every page. Readers will understand—as so many great literary works reveal—that wherever you and your beloved can be together is where true happiness is found.
At its core Toto’s Apple is a book that will be asked for again and again and should be “up high” or “down low” or anywhere in a child’s bookcase.
Ages 3 – 8
Phaidon Press, 2016 | ISBN 978-0714872513
International Eat an Apple Day Activity
Warm apples sprinkled with cinnamon sugar is one of the most delectable treats of autumn. Here’s an easy recipe for making this delicious dessert or side dish.
- 4 cups of apples, Macintosh or Granny Smith apples are good choices
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
- Mix brown sugar and cinnamon
- Peel and core 2 large apples
- Thinly slice apples
- Combine apples and cinnamon sugar/brown sugar mixture
- Stir until well combined
- Drizzle with lemon juice and stir again
- Cook apples on the stove at medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until desired texture
Picture Book Review