It's Not About the Apple! by Veronika Martenova Charles. Illustrated by David Parkins (Canada) - (USA)
Easy-to-Read Wonder Tales
Finished: Nov. 12, 2010
First Published: Oct. 12. 2010
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, easy reader, fairy tales
"Look!" said Lily to Ben and Jake.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Tundra Books.
Reason for Reading: My son read this as his reader while I was away on vacation and I didn't want to miss out so read it myself.
Three children, who appear to be 9 or 10 year olds find a lunchbox with an apple in it then one of them mentions a few elements from a popular fairy tale, in this case Snow White. Then another says that's not the version I've heard and they proceed to tell an ethnic version of the Snow White story. The rest of the book follows this pattern until all three children have told a fairy/folk tale from around the globe that is similar in some way to the previous one. Then the final chapter brings us back to what the children were doing in the first place that brought the topic up. All the books in this series follow the same format.
Snow White is explored here with versions from Greece, Armenia and Italy. I didn't quite enjoy this as much as the previous book from the series, "Crumbs", that I have read so far. The stories were all entertaining. I especially enjoyed the first one, perhaps because it was so similar to the Snow White story, the other two were less similar though they did have direct connections with each other. The tale from Armenia was quite unique. I also enjoyed that I had not heard any of the tales before and I've read a lot of fairy tales from around the world. Between each story there is a segue that returns to the original three children and introduces the new tales. The last page in the book tells the author's sources from which she based her tales that may perhaps inspire some to reading the original ethnic tales.
As to reading level, there is no reference to it on the books at all. It would have been nice had the publisher's actually determined the RL for the books in this series. Though the publisher's website does have a "browse & search" feature which will let you see for yourself whether they are appropriate for your child. I'm going to go out on a limb and say they are about equivalent with a Level 2 "I Can Read" Book. My son, who has learning disabilities, read the book very well with moderate help. The publisher describes the reading as "Written in short, easy phrases with carefully selected vocabulary..." but these are books the parent will have to see to judge whether they are up to your child's reading level. Otherwise, I never find anything wrong with a child reading a book that is too easy, if they enjoy it. We have the rest of the series and ds is already reading "It's Not About the Pumpkin" for his next reader!