Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You a Pie: A Story about Edna Lewis is a memorable book about growing food throughout the seasons and living off the land in Virginia. Wild strawberry, purslane, dandelions, sassafras, honey. As spring rides the breeze into summer, this extended family tends to their larder, taking full advantage of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables growing around them. Summer subdues itself into fall. Time to bring in the corn and beans, take a last harvest of pecans before winter sets in.
This way of life may be unfamiliar to a large percentage of children, but even though the book is set in the 1920s, everything about the story feels contemporary. Perhaps it is a way of life that withstands time.
Food is the focus because this is a glimpse of the early life of Edna Lewis, renowned chef and Southern cookbook author. As the author and watercolor illustrator Robbin Gourley writes, “But her most significant contribution was to make people aware of the importance of preserving traditional methods of growing and preparing food and of bringing ingredients directly from the field to the table.” With our current resurgence of interest in a farm-to-table lifestyle, this book is a good way to talk about food and nutrition with your children.
Quite a few traditional sayings are included in the book:
“Raccoon up the pecan tree.
Possum on the ground.
Raccoon shake the pecans down.
Possum pass ‘em round.”
Your mouth will water so much while you’re reading this book that you’ll be glad there are five recipes in the back of the book, from Strawberry Shortcake to Pecan Drops.
The watercolor illustrations throughout are charming and informative, warm and loving. The color palette of clear, bright tones adds to the feeling of health and well-being.
It’s a worthwhile addition to your home, school, or public library.