cover image Applesauce Season

Applesauce Season

Eden Ross Lipson, , illus. by Mordicai Gerstein. . Roaring Brook, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-1-59643-216-1

This is the first and only picture book by Lipson, the longtime New York Times children's books editor who died in May; it stands as a wonderful tribute to her considerable contributions and talents. Accompanied by Gerstein's (A Book ) gemütlich vignettes, Lipson introduces a family of urban-dwellers whose ties that bind are made of applesauce. As the youngest child and narrator explains, from “just about the time school opens, when it is still hot and summery but vacation is over,” until December, the family, with Grandma at the helm, comes together to produce pots and pots of homemade puree. Lipson's down-to-earth lyricism makes it clear that every step of the process has its rewards—even shopping inspires the narrator to savor the panoply of apples at the farmers' market (“first come Ida Red and Paula Red, Twenty Ounce and MacIntosh, Ginger Gold and Jonagold”). Best of all, applesauce season brings out the connoisseur in everyone: in one of the funniest scenes, Gerstein shows the narrator and his family adjusting the seasoning with the scholarly intensity of chemists. The book is a terrific nudge toward establishing family cooking rituals—the recipe on the final page should close the deal. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)