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It’s Spring in the Ohio River Valley and that means one thing….ALLERGIES. This area is horrible for allergies. So let’s talk allergens, or rather, trees! Trees sprout new, green leaves just as so many allergy-attack causing plants come back to life each Spring.
So often, my reading comes in twos–two books on trees, say, or two books mentioning the same obscure person/event/whatever. This time it is Golden Pippin Apples! Imagine! What are the odds! I’m listening to this book right now–and it mentions the silly apples. The first book I picked AFTER the Edge of the Orchard and it mentions that particular variety of apples. And that aren’t even close to being about the same subject. Go figure.
Eaters or Spitters? Pick a side
I’m a big Tracy Chevalier fan, but that said I totally hated, loathed and despised one character in this book! Yep, wanted to run the hay rake and the Percherons right over her! Ding dong, the you-know-what-is-dead time from the first word about her. Happily for us, the rest of the story is great. I really enjoyed the chapter that told a lot about growing apples. And, I’m going to Jungle Jim’s to see if they have any Pippins so I can see what all the fuss was about! This is a coming-of-age story in more ways than one. Wanderlust, reinvention, salvation of sorts all intertwined with a great, if a bit dark, family saga. It’ll make an excellent movie. At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier.
Since he plays a role in At the Edge of the Orchard, you might want to interest your children in “Johnny Appleseed,” aka John Chapman, while you read your book. Here is a fine picture book by Reeve Lindbergh daughter of Author Anne Lindbergh and aviator Colonel Charles Lindbergh. Johnny Appleseed: A Poem by Reeve Lindbergh
While John Muir is not mentioned in At the Edge of the Orchard, the Giant Redwoods and Sequoias he loved in California feature prominently in the story. If you’ve never read anything by John Muir, you owe to yourself to do so.
I’ve been working on this one, slowly, for quite a while. I could not believe any prose could be so beautiful and so vivid. I felt like I truly visited Yosemite–and Yosemite as it should be seen, untouched.
“I have often feasted on the beauty of these noble trees when they were towering in all their winter grandeur, laden with snow–one mass of bloom; in summer, too, when the brown, staminate clusters hang thick among the shimmering needles, and the big purple burrs are ripening in the mellow light; but it is during cloudless wind-storms that these colossal pines are most impressively beautiful. Then they bow like willows, their leaves streaming forward all in one direction, and, when the sun shines upon them at the required angle, entire groves glow as if every leaf were burnished silver.” Such beautiful words to describe one of the Earth’s most beautiful locations. Yosemite by John Muir.
And, if you love nature as I do, and want to share Muir’s vision of nature with your children, here is an excellent book for children–really for all ages. John Muir: America’s Naturalist by Thomas Locker. This book is part of an excellent series of similar books called Images of Conservationists, covering Muir, Rachel Carson and Henry David Thoreau. Locker has produced other incredible books as well. See them all here–they are all beautiful.
Do you have a favorite book–on tress or other aspects of nature or conservation? Favorite version of Johnny Appleseed’s legend? Share it in the comments so we all can enjoy it.