cover image The Apple Doll

The Apple Doll

Elisa Kleven, . . FSG, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-374-30380-8

Ashy girl named Lizzy uses her love of apples to assuage her fears about starting school in Kleven’s (The Wishing Ball ) latest. Lizzy adores the apple tree on her family’s property throughout the year, particularly in the fall when it offers “apples for crunching, apples for munching, apples for applesauce, cider, and pies.” Nervous that she won’t have any friends at school, she picks her favorite apple to bring with her, giving it an “apple-twig body.” drawing a face on it and naming it Susanna. However, her classmates tease her about her unusual doll (“Her brains are apple seeds!”) and the next day Lizzy leaves Susanna at home, making her feel quite lonely. As could be expected, Susanna’s organic nature soon makes her less than “fresh” and Lizzy’s mother offers a solution—they peel the apple and soak it in lemon juice, resulting in a wrinkly, well-preserved doll (“She looks like a little grandma!” Lizzy excitedly exclaims). Lizzy proudly brings the new Susanna to school and inspires the entire class to make dried apple dolls of their own. Youngsters may be moved to do the same, and Kleven provides detailed instructions for parents and children to craft friends of their own to conquer heading-to-school fears. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)