Author: Edward Hemmingway
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (2012)
Audience: Ages 3-5
Summary: This picture book tells the story of an apple named Mac. Mac was a good apple doing things and associating with those that a good apple would. However, one day during an afternoon sleep during a rain shower Mac awoke to find that he was not alone. A worm named Will had attached himself to Mac. Mac, being a good apple, befriended Will, but this friendship would lead the other apples to cast Mac off as a bad apple. Through his journey, Mac realizes what true friendship is.
Literary elements at work in the story: The story is told in third person. Through the telling of Mac’s story in the third person, one is faced with tough questions and may even have old wounds reopened. One may even find him/herself starring into a mirror from several points of views: (1) as the other apples who picked on Mac for befriending Will, (2) as Mac and/or Will who were the recipients of ridicule, and (3) as Mac who was courageous enough to befriend Will regardless of what the other apples thought.
The illustrations support the story well. The pictures are very detailed and colorful adding to the ease of following the story. Though the story could be told effectively without the pictures, I still find the pictures a necessity to the hearing of the story via the visual cues the pictures establish.
How does the book present gender, race, culture, economic status, abilities/disabilities, age, etc. in the story: Through the art of using apples to represent the characters the book does a wonderful job of establishing inclusivity. It crosses all ages, genders, races, economic status, etc. The book speaks volume to issues that divide us like color, economic status, education, disabilities, etc. It challenges us not to define friendship by our differences but rather by the character of the person. It also pushes us to be courageous by foregoing acceptance by our on community by daring to be a friend to those who our immediate community has cast off.
Theological Conversation Partners: The Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ lives in this story of friendship. As we encounter Mac’s story and his willingness to be cast off by his community for friendship with one deemed unworthy we encounter Jesus’ story. We encounter Mary Magdalene, we encounter Zacharias, we encounter the women at the well, we encounter Jesus, we encounter the Gospel!
Faith Talk Questions:
- Can you recall a time when someone was unwilling to be your friend because others picked on that person for doing so?
- How did it make you feel?
- Can you recall a time when you were willing to be someone’s friend when others were not? Why?
- What does it mean to be a friend?
- How has Jesus fulfilled your definition?
- Share the story of Zacharias. Why do you believe Jesus was willing to befriend Zacharias.
- Why did this have such a profound effect on Zacharias.
- Think about your best friend. Do you see the Gospel in this friendship? Why?
This review was written by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Lorenzo Small.