The Story of Johnny Appleseed

Title The Story of Johnny Appleseed

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Author Aliki

Illustrator/Photographer Aliki

Publisher and Year Simon & Schuster Inc., 1963

Number of pages: 31

Genre: Folk Tale

Descriptive Annotation: The Story of Johnny Appleseed features simple drawings done with crayon and pencils. Each page’s illustrations alternates—one page is done in color, and the next is done in black and white. Johnny Chapman, more widely known as Johnny Appleseed, decided to begin planting apple seeds after finishing his apple during a long walk in the woods. Johnny Appleseed carried sacks of apple seeds with him and planted them wherever there was open land. Not only did he bring a source of food and beauty to the Massachusetts area, but he also befriended Native Americans and pioneers alike and created peace between the two groups. One winter, as the apple trees began to die, Johnny also became very ill and was taken in by a Native American woman and her son. Eventually, he was nursed back to health, and continued giving the gift of apples to generations to come.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: During his travels, Johnny Appleseed encountered different cultures and animals. Johnny lived with both pioneers and Indians, and the differences in their clothing and houses are shown in the illustrations. Since Johnny lived many years ago, the language used does include terminology from that time period, like “covered wagon” and “pioneers” which may need to be defined prior to reading this story if this time period had not been covered.

Interdisciplinary Connections: The Story of Johnny Appleseed could be read during a science unit on distinguishing fruits from vegetables or one on how different fruits grow. Although the story of Johnny Appleseed may not be scientifically correct, students would be interested in this folk tale and it provides a fun alternative to the textbook. This book could also be read during a language arts unit of determining fact from fiction or a language arts unit on folk tales. A social studies unit on written traditions in different cultures and how each culture believes something came about (apples, weather, etc.) could feature this book.

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Other Information:  Although this was the first time I read this specific book, Johnny Appleseed lessons are very common in early elementary curriculum. One thing to be wary of when doing this lesson or unit is food allergies. One or more students in the class may be allergic to apples, so before reading this book and providing food for the class, make sure that all students will be able to participate and not be put at risk.

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