cover image Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship

Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship

Edward Hemingway. Putnam, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25191-7

Hemingway’s spreads recall old campground postcards of the 1950s, with rainbows arcing over cloud-covered hills and orange-tinted sunsets. It’s a good setting for this otherworldly tale of an apple named Mac who forms a close relationship with the worm who takes refuge in his head one day. Although Will the worm turns out to be a stalwart friend—he’s supportive, friendly, and full of good ideas—the other apples jeer: “Mac’s a rotten apple!” Tender interactions between Mac and Will (they read books together, and Will finishes Mac’s sentences) make it clear that Mac’s conclusion that he’d rather be “a Bad Apple with Will than a sad apple without him” is the right one. With sweet-tempered humor, Heming-way (Bump in the Night) concentrates less on the bullying and more on the intimacy Mac and Will share, allowing the two to retreat from the world to their cherished clearing on the hill. Although adults may detect a veiled romance—there’s just something about the way Mac looks at Will—the story works very nicely as a gentle celebration of friendship. Ages 3–5. Agent: David Kuhn, Kuhn Projects. (Aug.)