Synopses & Reviews
Lizzy loves the big apple tree in her yard more than anything. So when the first day of school comes, she picks a beautiful apple, turns it into a makeshift doll she names Susanna, and takes it along to keep her company. But her teacher tells her that dolls aren't allowed at school. Even worse, her sister says that Susanna won't last forever. Then Lizzy's mom shows her a way to turn Susanna into a real apple doll. And with the help of Susanna the Apple Doll, Lizzy overcomes her shyness at school and makes plenty of new friends to bring home to play in her beloved apple tree.
Detailed, delightful collage illustrations accompany this sweet story about one girl's success in bringing together her home world and her school world. Instructions for making an apple doll just like Susanna are included!
"'Ashy girl named Lizzy uses her love of apples to assuage her fears about starting school in Kleven's (The Wishing Ball) latest. Lizzy adores the apple tree on her family's property throughout the year, particularly in the fall when it offers 'apples for crunching, apples for munching, apples for applesauce, cider, and pies.' Nervous that she won't have any friends at school, she picks her favorite apple to bring with her, giving it an 'apple-twig body.' drawing a face on it and naming it Susanna. However, her classmates tease her about her unusual doll ('Her brains are apple seeds!') and the next day Lizzy leaves Susanna at home, making her feel quite lonely. As could be expected, Susanna's organic nature soon makes her less than 'fresh' and Lizzy's mother offers a solution they peel the apple and soak it in lemon juice, resulting in a wrinkly, well-preserved doll ('She looks like a little grandma!' Lizzy excitedly exclaims). Lizzy proudly brings the new Susanna to school and inspires the entire class to make dried apple dolls of their own. Youngsters may be moved to do the same, and Kleven provides detailed instructions for parents and children to craft friends of their own to conquer heading-to-school fears. Ages 4-8.' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“Kleven provides detailed instructions for parents and children to craft friends of their own to conquer heading-to-school fears.”—Publishers Weekly
“A plot summary does little to recreate the charm of this well-written picture book.” —Starred, Booklist
“A sweet story about accepting change, working together, and forming new friendships.”—School Library Journal
“Bright, textured and bold.”—Kirkus Reviews
Detailed, delightful collage illustrations accompany this sweet story about one girls success in bringing together her home world and her school world. Instructions for making an apple doll are included. Full color.
About the Author
ELISA KLEVEN has written and illustrated many books for children, including The Wishing Ball. She lives in Albany, California.
Reading Group Guide
HOW TO MAKE AN APPLE DOLL
Supplies you will need:
A large, firm, unblemished apple (any kind will do, but Granny Smiths work especially well)
An apple peeler or sharp knife
A plastic knife or pumpkin carving knife
A ballpoint pen or other not-too-sharp pointed tool
Enough lemon juice to completely cover your apple
Yarn, wool, or cotton balls for hair
A pink marker
Scraps of fabric, lace, and feathers or small premade doll clothes
1. With the help of an adult, carefully peel your apple.
2. Hold your apple, stem up. With a pumpkin carver or plastic knife, carve an outline of the shape you want the nose to be on the finished doll. Then carve out around that shape. This is the trickiest part of making apple people, and may require an adults help, too.
3. Using a ballpoint pen or other pointed tool, poke holes or slits in your apple for eyes. Use the same tool to carve out a mouth.
4. Put enough lemon juice in a bowl to completely cover your apple.Dissolve a tablespoon of salt in the juice. Soak the apple in the mixture for half an hour. The apple will bob to the top of the liquid, so be sure to put a heavy object, like a plate or lid, on it to weigh it down.
5. Drying the apple will take several days. The apple will dry if left in any warm, dry place. It will dry most quickly in the oven. Set the apple upright on a greased cookie sheet. Cover the apples “nose” with a scrap of tinfoil to prevent burning, and put the apple in an oven set at 200 degrees. After about 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to WARM, or the lowest setting. At this point, you may want to rotate the apple so that its bottom doesnt get mushy. Leave your apple in the warm oven for about three days, turning the oven off at night.
Instead of using the oven, you can dry your apple by leaving it on a sunny windowsill, a cars dashboard, or a radiator. You can hang it from a wire or string or press it onto a stick if you want to make sure that there is plenty of air circulating around your apple.
However you choose to dry it, check your apple occasionally to make sure that it is drying evenly on all sides. Feel free to pinch, mold, and shape the apples face as it dries. The apple will shrink considerably and will become somewhat wrinkled as well. It will look golden and suntanned. When the apple head feels more dry than moist, and somewhat spongy and leathery to the touch, it is done drying.
6. To make your dolls body, carefully poke a hole into the bottom of the apple with a thin pointed stick or skewer and insert a pipe cleaner securely into the hole. For extra sturdiness, you can poke a hole through the entire apple, bend a pipe cleaner in half, and insert it all the way through the apple. Begin to twist other pipe cleaners around the first one, to form the apple dolls middle. Fasten other pipe cleaners to the middle to form arms and legs, hands and feet. Make your doll as plump as you like by twisting more pipe cleaners around the arms,
legs, and middle.
7. Glue yarns, wool, or cotton balls securely to your apple dolls head. Put dabs of glue in the dolls eye holes and insert beads for eyes. Use a light pink marker to paint rosy cheeks on your doll.
8. Dress your apple doll in scraps of fabric, doll clothes, feathers—anything you want. With pipe cleaners or clay, you can make chairs for your doll to sit in and miniature musical instruments for it to play. Have fun and enjoy the little person you created. It will last forever if you keep it in a dry place.