How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World is a terrific picture book and a fun read-aloud for preschool on up. Marjorie Priceman is the author and illustrator, and she has combined a witty story with bright, clever illustrations.
The book explains how to make an apple pie, beginning with a picture of a little girl with a shopping list of ingredients for apple pie. The store is closed. “In that case,” Priceman continues, “go home and pack a suitcase.” We follow our heroine to Italy for wheat, France for eggs, Sri Lanka for cinnamon, England for milk, Jamaica for sugar, and Vermont for apples — and she picks up some ocean salt along the way.
The story ends with friends made on the international journey all sharing the pie at a big sunny table.
But this book is also full of teaching points. There are maps on the end papers and a matching game at the front for linking each ingredient to its point of origin. There is a recipe for apple pie at the end. And along the way there are excellent lessons to be learned.
- The most obvious point to be made with this book is that goods travel around the world. Identify the sources of the ingredients for Priceman’s apple pie, but also the sources of the items in your classroom. Put stickers on individual world maps (or magnet markers on your classroom map) to show all the places your goods come from. You can send sheets from a globe notepad home with students for them to add the places they find on “made in” labels at home.
- Toward the end of the book there is a two-page spread showing the girl producing finished goods from raw materials. “Now all you have to do,” it begins, “is mill the wheat into flour, grind the kurundu bark into cinnamon…” and so on. List the processes involved. Consider which of the goods come from the initial producer pretty much ready to use (eggs, for example), and which require a lot of processing before they can be used in an apple pie.
- Which of the ingredients on the list could be produced locally? We have apples in Arkansas, and cows and chickens, but is it possible to grow cinnamon here? Consider these questions for your region. Discuss how differences in climate affect the goods and raw materials produced in different areas.
- When goods are produced locally, there are advantages to buying them locally. The energy used to transport apples from Vermont to Arkansas is much greater than that needed to transport apples from an orchard in Washington county to a local farmer’s market or grocery and then to your home. The freshness and quality of the goods may be better when they don’t have to travel (notice Priceman’s heroine’s solution to this problem). More different varieties of fruits and vegetables can be grown for local consumption, instead of only the ones that ship well, and this can be beneficial for the environment and lessen the chances of crop failure and the need for pesticides. On the other hand, there are also advantages to being able to sell your goods all over the world. Arkansas exported 4.3 billion dollars worth of goods in 2006, and 5% of the state’s income comes from exports. About 1/9 of our state’s workers rely on exports for their jobs. Have older students research the pros and cons of this issue and present their findings in a persuasive paper or an oral report.
- Find the producers and consumers in the book. Note that some characters are both consumers and producers.What a great chance to use your Venn diagrams!
- Find all the workers in the pictures, and list all the work being done. Find all the places of work, including the many businesses and farms.
- There is plenty of map work to be done in this story. Use the ideas above, or just have the kids draw a line on their maps to show the route the girl took.
- Notice the different forms of transportation in the story. Boats, bicycle, bus, walking, cars, train, and airplane are among the means of travel. Have young students draw their favorite, and ask older students to research the suitability of each form of transport shown for its associated country. Enjoy the picture of the cow in a parachute while you’re at it.
- List the characteristics of the different countries shown in the pictures. Priceman has included different kinds of architecture, plants and animals, clothing, and languages to illustrate the countries. Have students draw a picture of their own town that uses all these characteristics to show location. The information in the book could also be used to make a chart — have students research to fill in any blanks.
- Most of the book is written in the imperative. List all the examples of imperative sentences, and compare them with the other verb forms in the book. Notice that the recipe in the back is also written in the imperative. Try rewriting some of the story without using the imperative. Try rewriting the recipe without the imperative. Encourage students to draw some conclusions about the use of the imperative.
- List all the verbs in the book. Wow! There sure are a lot of different verbs! Once you’ve marveled over that for a little while, have students pull out their most recent piece of writing and rewrite it with more Viviacious Verbs. Have older students try rewriting a scene from the Priceman book with duller verbs and see what effect that has.
- For an interesting writing assignment, have students choose another recipe and write out their directions including travel to gather all the ingredients. For the youngest classes, do this as a class project and make a big book. Older students can make their own books, and produce a class display.
- The book is based on a list. Many of the suggestions in this post involve lists. Why not alphabetize, prioritize, or otherwise organize some of these lists? Choose an organizing principle that you wanted to work on anyway, or challenge the class to come up with new and interesting ways to organize the lists.
Priceman’s book will be a fine addition to your autumn apple theme! Check out our Apple Theme ideas, and also have a look at the Apple Pie Activity from Shapes, Etc. to get more apple-y goodness going in your classrooom.