cover image Apple


Nikki McClure. Abrams Appleseed, $12.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-0378-2

An afterword says that this is actually McClure’s first book, which she created in 1996, hand-bound, and sold locally. Small and square, it features a single word in block letters on each left-hand page, opposite one of McClure’s signature cutouts. A girl takes an apple from the pile her mother is using for pie (“sneak”), slips it into her school knapsack (“hide”), and leaves it on the playground (“forget”). The apple makes its way into the compost and then into the ground, where it sprouts: “Spring.” The technical ability required to use a single piece of black paper and a pair of scissors to represent intangibles like the movement of air or a reflection on the water is a rare gift; parents and children can spend rewarding time together merely figuring out how McClure (To Market, To Market) has created positive and negative space. For McClure, the apple—which adds a flash of red to the otherwise b&w images—joins the natural world to the human world, and adds beauty to its surroundings wherever it’s found. Ages 3–6. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)