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Johnny Appleseed

Last updated Friday, April 13, 2007

Author: Steven Kellogg
Date of Publication: 1988
ISBN: 0688064175
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2007

Synopsis: From School Library Journal: Readers are skillfully lead into the story by means of colorful endpapers, title page, and frontispiece showing Johnny scattering seeds, checking on his saplings, and, as an old man, gathering apples. Illustrations are done in paint and pen and ink on textured paper in the muted greens, browns, and blues of the frontier woodlands, the red of the apples providing the only bright color. While several two-page panoramas are included, most illustrations fill two-thirds of the page, many bursting out of their white-bordered frames, and all of them brimming with the lush detail for which Kellogg has become famous. Indians, pioneers, and animals of woodland and farm, covered wagons and bargesall drawn in his familiar cartoon-like stylebring the frontier days to life. The brief text combining legend with fact, coupled with the picture book format, makes this life of Johnny Appleseed the most accessible and entertaining one available for young children. Johnny's unchanging youthful appearance throughout most of the book is the one disturbing flaw in this eye-catching volume.

Note to readers:
•  Volunteers should read ahead of time the authors note at the back of the book for background information.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Has anyone ever heard of Johnny Appleseed? What have you heard? What do you know?
•  What is a tall tale? What other examples of tall tales do you know about?
•  Briefly discuss how long ago the Revolutionary War was. Find Massachusetts and Pennsylvania on a map.
•  Have you ever seen an apple tree?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What does Johnny Appleseed do for other people?
•  How does he help the environment? Does he hurt the environment in any way?
•  How was Johnny Appleseeds story passed on? How did the story grow?
•  What parts of the story seem reasonable? What parts seem exaggerated?

Craft ideas:
•  Cut out the trunk leaves, and fruit of an apple tree. Glue the parts onto paper.
•  Cut an apple out of construction paper. Draw a face on your apple. Add accordion arms and legs to make an apple person.
•  Make an apple tree by tracing your forearm from the elbow to the hand on a large piece of paper to form the trunk and branches. Make sure your fingers are spread apart. Color and decorate your tree.

Special activities:
•  Play the telephone game. Sitting in a circle, have one person start a message. Each person in turn whispers the message to the next. See how the message comes out at the end.
•  Create a group story. The first child starts with a sentence like Once upon a time there was a man. Subsequent children would embellish with a name, descriptions, actions, or meeting other characters. Each person only adds one sentence.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!