Pros:pretty illustrations, mix of ethnicities in the children pictures
Cons:does not successfully meet the needs of the age group it is marketed for
The Bottom Line: While it is nice to introduce youngsters to Nature and Science this book falls flat.
Apples and How They Grow is a "Station Stop 1" level book in the All Aboard Reading series by Grosset & Dunlap publications. It marketed as being geared toward those who are just beginning to read and according to the back cover makes use of "simple words, big type, picture clues, and repetition."
Recommend this product?
The book is 29 pages long with 24 pages of text. I have to say upfront that as a book intended for beginning readers this book is a little over-exhuberant in its use of language. One example is its use of the word "hundreds". I can't imagine many kids in Kindergarten being familiar enough with this book to figure it out through phonics alone. Another example can be seen in the overall amount of text. As a book geared to novice readers it should limit itself to only a few words per page. One page has a whopping 24 words on it! Talk about intimidating for a young child!
Finally, as a science book, I felt that since the intended audience for this book is probably no older than First grade that it should've stuck to simple concepts. I expected the book to move from seed to sprout to sapling to tree to flower and then finally fruit.
Instead, the book introduces concepts that are, frankly, unnecessary in a book intended for such young readers. It explores how seeds from an apple purchased at a farmer's market (or supermarket) will eventually grow into a tree, but that there is no guarantee that it will give you the apples you want (or any apples at all). It explains that apple growers make use of grafting instead, to guarantee the success of their crop.
What Kindergartener or First grader really needs to know about grafting?!?!
I truly consider this book to do a poor job of either educating or entertaining the targeted age group. Aside from that, it is frankly dull and boring.
Personally, I would've found this book a lot more interesting if it explored how long it took for a seed to become a tree, and then how long it took for that tree to bear fruit. I can almost picture the illustrations ... a little boy plants a seed and grows into a teenager and then a man.
I would also have liked to have seen the story include all the things that can be made from apples: baby food, applesauce, pie, etc. In that same vein it would've been marvelous to see a book such as this include a simple recipe for baked apples.
Overall, I can find little to recommend in this title. The illustrations are adorable, very cartoony, bright and colorful. Additionally, they reflect the diversity that can be seen in the kids in most American classrooms. In fact, that is the one place where this book can work - in the classroom. A teacher could use this book to enhance a unit on Nature and plants but I do not see it being a success as pleasure reading.
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