Reviews for Applesauce Season

Booklist Reviews 2009 August #1
"My grandmother says there's no reason to start eating apples when peaches are perfect." But around the time school opens, applesauce season begins. A boy outfitted in red, round glasses (just like Grandma's) is our guide to an unlikely but tasty topic: applesauce. In a well-cadenced narrative perfectly suited for reading aloud, he explains that the city has no apple trees, but there are farmers' markets, and that's where three generations of his family buy at least three varieties of apples every week; it's the diversity that makes each batch of applesauce different. Those who assume that the choosing and chopping of apples, the cooking and tasting, and the grinding and scraping in the food mill might make for a less-than-scintillating story have only to see those actions lovingly performed by characters drawn with Gerstein's imaginative brush. So evocative is his work that readers can almost smell the sauce as it simmers. Then it's time to "celebrate the first sauce of the season," at a family dinner. Preparing this delicious dish is an apt metaphor for familial warmth and sharing, but metaphors aside, thank goodness the book concludes with a recipe for applesauce. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Spring
In this warm portrait of family and food, the city-dwelling narrator and his grandma go to the farmers' market to buy apples for applesauce. The boy's passion for applesauce-making equals Grandma's, a connection emphasized in Gerstein's cheery illustrations, which also provide above-the-countertop/stove/table views as the apples are transformed into sauce. The final page includes a detailed recipe. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #6
In this warm portrait of family and food, the young narrator tells us, "Applesauce season starts just about the time school opens, when it is still hot and summery but vacation is over." He and his grandma, city dwellers, go to the farmers' market and buy six pounds of apples for sauce and another six for "eating out of hand." At home, mom helps out, and three generations make the applesauce, a process the boy describes from start ("Mom cuts them into quarters, Grandma cuts them into sixths. I don't know why") to finish ("We taste till it tastes right, and then it cools some more and thickens. Then it's ready"). Though the boy has two applesauce-lovin' sisters, he's clearly the one whose passion equals Grandma's -- a connection emphasized in Gerstein's cheery illustrations of the two wearing matching eyeglasses, frames round and red as apples. As any good cooking show does, the pictures provide above-the-countertop/stove/table views as the apples are transformed into sauce. The final page includes a detailed recipe and an illustration of the boy, now a dad, in the kitchen cutting apples with his daughter, sharing a smile -- and the same apple-red glasses. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 July #2
Flavored with family tradition and spiced with Gerstein's cheerful illustrations, this account of one family's love of applesauce hits the spot. One day "when it is still hot and summery, but vacation is over," Grandma says, "It's time for applesauce." The city-dwelling family buys apples ("at least three different kinds") at an outdoor market. The names and varieties of apples and the details of cooking change as the season progresses, with the subtle variations in the process lovingly detailed in both text and image. The "first sauce of the season" is celebrated and toasted at a special gathering of family and friends, while later Grandpa is remembered on his birthday with a candle-bedecked pie. The child narrator (who sports round, red glasses just like Grandma's) wonders whether he'll prefer pie to sauce when he grows up, while the illustrations project a future generation of apple lovers, a poignant touch for this last book by the late Lipson. In a crowded orchard of apple books, this one stands out for home or school apple- and/or family-tradition projects. Applesauce recipe appended. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 July #3

This is the first and only picture book by Lipson, the longtime New York Times children's books editor who died in May; it stands as a wonderful tribute to her considerable contributions and talents. Accompanied by Gerstein's (A Book) gemtlich vignettes, Lipson introduces a family of urban-dwellers whose ties that bind are made of applesauce. As the youngest child and narrator explains, from "just about the time school opens, when it is still hot and summery but vacation is over," until December, the family, with Grandma at the helm, comes together to produce pots and pots of homemade puree. Lipson's down-to-earth lyricism makes it clear that every step of the process has its rewards--even shopping inspires the narrator to savor the panoply of apples at the farmers' market ("first come Ida Red and Paula Red, Twenty Ounce and MacIntosh, Ginger Gold and Jonagold"). Best of all, applesauce season brings out the connoisseur in everyone: in one of the funniest scenes, Gerstein shows the narrator and his family adjusting the seasoning with the scholarly intensity of chemists. The book is a terrific nudge toward establishing family cooking rituals--the recipe on the final page should close the deal. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 September

PreS-Gr 2--Urban meets bucolic in this charming family story that is narrated by a family's youngest child. "We live in the city. There are no apple trees, but there are farmer's markets where there are lots of apples." That's where the boy and his grandmother shop. They choose the fruit, wash it, cut it up, cook it, and finally run it through the food mill. Then comes the eating, "…plain, or with ice cream, or cottage cheese, or gingerbread, or cookies, or sliced bananas." This is not a long book but it's filled with enticing details. Even the names of the varieties are fun: Black Twig, King David, Northern Spy. A celebration of family ritual and slow foods, the story is in the best tradition of "show, don't tell." Gerstein's colorful paintings are edged with dynamic scratchy lines that convey a lively sense of movement. His sly humor is a perfect match for the straightforward narrative, which ends with a recipe and a glimpse into the boy's sunny future-full of apples, of course.--Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL

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