Cover image for Johnny Appleseed
Title:
Johnny Appleseed
Author:
Benét, Rosemary, 1900-1962.
Publication Information:
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, [2001]

©2001
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations, 1 color map ; 23 x 28 cm
Summary:
A poem describing Johnny Appleseed's appearance and actions.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.7 0.5 52572.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.1 1 Quiz: 29849 Guided reading level: NR.
ISBN:
9780689829758
Format :
Book

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PS3503.E53 J64 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area
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PS3503.E53 J64 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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PS3503.E53 J64 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
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PS3503.E53 J64 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
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Summary

Summary

Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benét wrote the poem Johnny Appleseed in 1933 as a tribute to the American pioneer, John Chapman. Born in the 1770s in Massachusetts, Chapman drifted down the Ohio River with two canoes lashed together and loaded with apple seeds. For more than forty years, he wandered the Ohio River valley preaching from the Bible and distributing apple seeds, saplings, and medicines to the settlers in the valley as well as to the local native Indian tribes. It is said that Chapman's ragged clothes, religious fervor, and tireless enthusiasm are what contributed to making him the legendary folk hero known as Johnny Appleseed.S. D. Schindler's magnificent interpretation of the Benéts' poem, filled with humor and beautiful details, brings to life the story of the man we know as Johnny Appleseed, an independent spirit who followed his dreams.


Author Notes

A poet, dramatist, and short story writer, Stephen Vincent Benet was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1898 and attended Yale University. A Guggenhein Fellowship in 1926 enabled him to work in Paris on a long poem that appeared two years later and received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry (1928). The poem John Brown's Body brought Benet instant popularity. This narrative history of the Civil War in rhyme and blank verse told from the point of view of ordinary people of both the North and the South is a remarkable epic of the United States.

Although Benet had enormously influential on other poets, notably the Harlem Renaissance writer Anne Spencer, and despite his wide popular audience, he has not received high praise from academic critics.

Benet died in 1943.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-7. The Benets' poem first appeared in A Book of Americans in 1933. Here it is resurrected and set against Schindler's carefully drawn yet exuberant colored-pencil illustrations. There's an efficient simplicity to the words--"Of Jonathan Chapman / Two things are known / That he loved apples, / That he walked alone." Also, a bit of political incorrectness in reference to "The stalking Indian, the beast in its lair / Did no hurt / While he was there." In a note, son Thomas Benet declares that the Indian "was not stalking a person," only game, "probably," and the reference was meant as an atmospheric touch. The pictures display soft textures and warm color that is restrained yet vibrant. Fine lines highlight judicious detail, and the whole is suffused in a golden glow. --Denise Wilms


Publisher's Weekly Review

Armed with a deerskin bag full of apple seeds and wearing a tin pan for a hat, John Chapman better known as Johnny Appleseed is one of the more colorful characters in American history. His saga is succinctly and stylishly recounted in the Ben?ts' classic poem, first published in 1933, and here burnished with Schindler's detail-rich colored pencil illustrations. Crafted from quatrains as sturdy as the branches of the trees Chapman tends ("For fifty years over/ Of harvest and dew,/ He planted his apples/ Where no apples grew"), the verses trace how the hero traveled the Ohio River Valley sowing seeds for posterity. The poem's simple structure, pulsing cadence and clever thematic imagery ("At seventy-odd/ He was gnarled as could be,/ But ruddy and sound/ As a good apple tree") boost its impact as a read-aloud. Schindler (Don't Fidget a Feather) enhances a succession of realistic pastoral vistas with vivid characters and critters, from the jaunty Johnny himself, with his long white beard and weathered clothes, to the curious possum family dangling above the branch where he sleeps. The artist adheres to an earthy palette and sets his drawings against a parchment-like background, which adds a timeless air. An afterword from the Ben?ts' son puts the poem and its references in context. Ages 4-8. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Schindler's whimsical, colored-pencil details and scrawny, homely caricatures provide a welcome counterpoint to a somewhat singsongy rhyme scheme. An apple-juggling Johnny's bent knee (poking out of his tattered gray pants) echoes the curve of the nearby, similarly colored tree branches. This scene accompanies the verse: "At seventy odd/He was gnarled as could be,/But ruddy and sound/As a good apple tree." While the book celebrates John Chapman's gentle nature and his horticultural accomplishments, it also offers clear and appealing spreads of two important growing cycles. The first features an underground cross section of a sequence of tree stages from the seed to harvest. A complementary scene appears on the endpapers as a luscious apple becomes a shriveled core. An endnote from the authors' son describes his parents' purpose and places the poem in historical context, explaining, in particular, the single reference to the "stalking Indian." This slice of Americana deserves a spot in most collections.-Wendy Lukehart, Harrisburg School District, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.