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The Apple Doll    by Elisa Kleven order for
Apple Doll
by Elisa Kleven
Order:  USA  Can
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2007 (2007)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

This is the story of a lonely little girl who finds solace in her doll. However, this doll is no ordinary doll: it is made of an apple. Lizzy is an imaginative child who spends most of her days playing in her apple tree. When she begins school for the first time, she takes an apple to school with her as a security blanket of sorts. She sticks her on a twig and even names her apple Susanna. Lizzy's sister Jill keeps reminding Lizzy that an apple is no substitute for a real friend.

At school, Lizzy is teased over her apple doll and comes home crushed. After a little brainstorming, her mother teaches her how to make a real apple doll, just like Lizzy's great-grandmother used to make. Lizzy and Mama get busy peeling Susanna, soaking her in lemon
juice and letting her dry out for a week. Then they decorate her - finally, Susanna is a real doll, ready to be taken to school. Lizzy's entire class, including her teacher, is impressed, and Lizzy has an opportunity to teach the class this special art project. 

The Apple Doll, with its mixed media style of illustration, makes for a comforting autumn read. A lovely scene toward the end of the book is my favorite: Lizzy's classmates, in winter, are portrayed dancing around a bare apple tree with their apple dolls in hand, implying that the dolls will last through the seasons, even when the last apple falls to the ground. The book's bonus is a recipe for an apple doll craft, a project that would be perfect for a cold fall day.

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