Helen Frost, Author
Amy June Bates, Illustrator
Candlewick Press, Fiction, Aug. 9, 2016
Suitable for Ages: 8-12
Themes: Apples, Loss, Multigenerational families, Family relationships, Storytelling
Book Jacket Synopsis: When the first apple falls from the tree, siblings Faith and Peter know that it’s applesauce weather. And that means Uncle Arthur should be here. But maybe he needs a little more time to grieve? This is the first year without Aunt Lucy, after all. When Uncle Arthur does finally arrive, it’s clear that something besides one of his fingers is missing. Where are the stories? Where’s that twinkle in his eye? With help from Faith’s love and patience, and sparked by Peter’s growing interest in the girl next door, Uncle Arthur might just have the start of a new story.
Why I like this story:
Written by award-winning poet, Helen Frost, “Applesauce Weather” is a heartwarming story about the love and support of family following the loss of Uncle Arthur’s wife, Lucy. She gives a fresh, crisp feeling of a lovely fall weekend filled with family and traditions.
This is a perfect book to introduce older children and teens to a novel written in verse. The chapters are short and written in the alternating voices of Faith, Peter and Uncle Arthur. This allows readers to get to know the characters from three different viewpoints. There are also seven special verses of “Lucy’s Song” interspersed throughout the book that reveal snippets of the Uncle Arthur and Aunt Lucy’s life together and the great love they once shared. They reveal stories about the bench Uncle Arthur makes for Lucy that still sits under an apple tree and the day they carved their initials into a nearby tree.
Amy June Bates’ black and white pencil drawings have a charm about them and give the reader a peek at the characters and a strong sense of the vivid setting. The illustrations add a nice touch to the overall story.
Helen Frost is the author of Step Gently Out, Sweep up the Sun, Among a Thousand Fireflies, Monarch and Milkweed, and six novels in poems for children and young adults. She was awarded a Printz Honor for Keesha’s House.
Check other Middle Grade review links on author Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.