Friday, January 8, 2010

An Apple Pie for Dinner

When I was a third grade teacher, I looked forward to our economic unit. We would create factories in our classrooms and students would be paid and eventually could buy items (potholders, candy, etc.) that were created in the factories. One day of the unit was devoted to the study of bartering.  Everyone brought an item from home and a giant market full of third graders was created.

Reading An Apple Pie for Dinner, based on an English folktale, reminded me of this day of bartering. In the story, Granny Smith (what? no Granny McIntosh or Granny Gala?) has all the ingredients for an apple pie except for apples. She does have nice plums so she sets off on a journey to trade them for apples. Along the way, she meets different characters and trades items on her search for apples. Eventually Granny ends up with apples and makes a pie to share with all of the people with whom she has bartered.

Susan VanHecke's retelling of the folktale would make a good lesson on text structure.  Problem/solution, cause and effect, and sequence are all clearly evident in this story. It's also a good character lesson in that Granny's kindness is eventually rewarded. Carol Baicker-McKee's mixed media bas-reliefs remind me of the old Rankin-Bass holiday television specials and will be a curiosity for students used to more traditional illustrations.

Check out this website for activities related to the book.


  1. I came across your site for another reason and found this book. I am so glad I did. This is perfect for the kinds of reviews I do - Secular books with Jewish values content. How lovely for Rosh Hashanah - the Jewish New Year - when apples are an important food item and sharing with others is a major theme. In reading other reviews on your site, I think I will be dropping by here often. How exciting!

  2. Glad to be of service! Kathy, thank you for your kind comments.


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