August 09, 2016
When the first apple falls from the tree, Faith and Peter know that it’s applesauce weather, even though Peter is getting a little old for such things. It also means Uncle Arthur should be here to tell his stories, with a twinkle in his eye as he spins tales about how he came to have a missing finger. But this is the first year without Aunt Lucy, and when Uncle Arthur arrives, there’s no twinkle to be found and no stories waiting to be told. Faith is certain, though, that with a little love and patience, she and Peter might finally learn the truth about that missing finger. Paired with warm, expressive illustrations by Amy June Bates, this heartfelt tale by award-winning poet Helen Frost highlights the strength of family and the power of a good story.
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Told in free verse (uncharacteristic for this author), this story of family history is as bittersweet as a batch of fresh homemade applesauce. Faith's concern and love for Arthur is touching, and her brother Peter's attempts at separating himself from the family realistic. The illustrations add an old-fashioned feel to this short book, which is a great choice for a fall read aloud.
Despite the sad circumstances, this is an upbeat book about preserving memories. The part that I found most fascinating was Arthur's ever changing story about how he lost part of his finger-- farm life in the first half of the 20th century was not particularly kind, nor were children supervised terribly well, and an inordinate number of my male relatives were missing fingers just like Arthur.
Fans of Patricia MacLachlan, Julie Sternberg and Linda Urban will find this gentle tale one to savor while curled up under a light blanket as the fall air starts to cool.
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