PPBF: Applesauce

Author/Illustrator: Klaas Verplancke
Publisher: Groundwood Books, 2010, English translation 2012
Age Level: 2-5
Themes: parent-child relationship, love, anger, fear
Opening: My Daddy has smooth cheeks and an apple in his throat. He sounds like a mom when he sings in the bath.
Summary:(from the publisher) Johnny’s daddy has smooth cheeks, an apple in his throat and sounds like a mom when he sings in the bath. At other times a cactus grows out of his chin and his breath smells like cauliflower. At times he has warm hands and his fingers taste like applesauce. Other times his hands are cold and flash like lightning, and he becomes a thunder-daddy. When this happens Johnny wants to find a new daddy, but he eventually realizes that thunder-daddies don’t last forever. And that there’s nothing like the comfort that comes from those we love.


Why I like this book:  This book addresses the fear a child has when a beloved parent gets angry, which we all know NEVER happens! Ahem. And that finding the way back to the parent they love can be difficult. It’s always clearer seen from the outside: the reaction of the child in the book reminded me a similar scene in our family when a grandparent had a strong reaction to some not-so-good table manners of one of my children – I think this would have been a great book to have had to share back then! The illustrations are hands-down FANTASTIC!
Resources/Activities: this book could easily spark discussions about anger issues; might be a good addition to a counselor’s office. Make applesauce!

I use an old-fashioned aluminum sieve to make applesauce

I use an old-fashioned aluminum sieve to make applesauce

For more PPBF picks, go to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog – HERE

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36 thoughts on “PPBF: Applesauce

  1. I love the way how we see the parents through a child’s eyes. “cactus grows out of his chin..” love it. True we can become very frightened of our parents and hope to get back into their” good books.” (excuse the pun)
    A great choice Julie!

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  2. This is an excellent book for parents and kids — and for teachers and kids. I liked it immediately from your review. And, the drawings are very simple and clean — reminds me of your interest in simplicity and lines. (For some reason I couldn’t open your post on Susanna’s blog, so went to my blog list.)

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  3. This sounds fantastic, Julie! I love the concept. I wish it had a better title than ‘Applesauce’ which really doesn’t seem to do the content justice based on your review. I’m so glad you reviewed it because I’m sure I would have passed it over, otherwise.

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  4. I’m with the other commenters in regards to the title-boy it wasn’t at all what I expected! It sounds like a useful title to read to kids when it’s time for the parental apology (which every parent has to give out from time to time.) Good to see nobody’s perfect, not even parents.

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  5. Sounds like an excellent book. There are books (can’t remember the title right now, but the book is square, has a green border and I know where it is in my classroom) that link a child’s emotions to different animals, and others that link emotions to colour. I like the notion of linking how a parent appears to a child to various objects and events, and then processing them.

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  6. The first the words “because I said so!” come out of my mouth I called my best friend and cried. I had sworn I was going to be the calm “let’s discuss this” type of mom….sigh…and the first time I had to scold my grandgirl…do they have a book for that? Illustrations are very different and intriguing.

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    • I think a big part of becoming a parent is learning to forgive ourselves and to let go of the idea of being a perfect parent. We don’t ever think of becoming perfect writers, illustrators or women – it’s more about striving do do great work, striving to do the best we can for our children, isn’t it?

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