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Apples to Oregon: Being the (Slightly) True Narrative of How a Brave Pioneer Father Brought Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Grapes, and Cherries (and Children) Across the Plains

by Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Published by An Anne Schwartz Book / Atheneum, 2004
32 pages
ISBN: 0-689-84769-6

Ages 5-9

“The most daring adventure in the history of fruit,” is how Delicious, the young narrator of this tall, tongue-in-cheek tale, describes the journey of her family and their fruit trees across the Great Plains to the western United States. Her daddy is plum crazy about his fruit trees, and their wagon is a traveling orchard, bearing apple, peach, pear, plum, grape and cherries ready for replanting in the Oregon soil. Daddy is a laughingstock to many on the western trail, but not to Delicious, her Momma and little brothers and sisters. They all pitch in when the trees are in peril. High water, hailstorms and heat are no match for this dedicated family. Puns and alliteration abound (“The peaches are plummeting!...The plums are plunging!...Daddy’s dainties were safe.”) in Deborah Hopkinson’s hilarious, high-spirited story. Nancy Carpenter’s illustrations, done in folk art style, perfectly reflect the narrative’s tall-tale tone while adding a number of humorous visual details. An author’s note explains that Hopkinson based her story--very loosely--on fact. The first apple trees were brought to Oregon by a pioneer named Henderson Luelling, who traveled from Iowa with his wife, Elizabeth, their eight children, and “seven hundred plants and young fruit trees.” CCBC Categories: Picture Books for School-Aged Children. (MS) ©2004 Cooperative Children's Book Center

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