cover image Apple Days

Apple Days

Allison Sarnoff Soffer, illus. by Bob McMahon. Kar-Ben, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4677-1203-3

While Eden Ross Lipson’s Applesauce Season remains the gold standard on the subject, Soffer’s debut adds a fun Jewish angle to the profound resonance of a humble fruit puree. For school-aged Katy, applesauce-making and Rosh Hashanah are inextricably linked. It’s not just because it’s a food custom associated with the Jewish New Year—Katy and her mother have created a tradition of their own, “Apple Day,” which starts with a trip to a local orchard and ends with the kitchen filled “with the sweet smell of apples and cinnamon. Just thinking about it made Katy’s mouth water.” Soffer understands how kids savor rituals: every step is significant, and anticipation is to be broadly shared. When it looks like Apple Day might be derailed by the early arrival of Katy’s new cousin, her circle of friends and supporters—who range from peers to the woman who cuts her hair—pitches in. McMahon’s (All Kinds of Kids) cartooned drawings don’t offer much emotional depth, but they’re smartly composed and a solid accompaniment to Soffer’s upbeat and deeply empathic prose. Ages 2–7. Illustrator’s agent: Ronnie Ann Herman, Herman Agency Inc. (Aug.)