O'Neill's sunny illustrations abet Lerner and Goldhor's first children's book but can't hoist it aloft. Katie teases her...

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WHAT'S SO TERRIBLE ABOUT SWALLOWING AN APPLE SEED?

O'Neill's sunny illustrations abet Lerner and Goldhor's first children's book but can't hoist it aloft. Katie teases her little sister, Rosie, about the consequences of accidentally swallowing an apple seed: A tree will shortly take root in Rosie's stomach. Katie assures her the branches will grow out of her ears and get all the sunshine they need. Swearing the younger girl to secrecy, she carries the deception a step further by examining Katie's ears at night for incipient budding. Even when Rosie is sad and can't sleep, a guilt-stricken Katie, afraid to tell the truth, comes up with more elaborations on the lie to cheer her sister up. When RoMe reveals her secret to a friend, she learns the truth and confronts Katie, who blames the victim (""I can't help it if you believe everything I say!"") but is secretly relieved. Determinedly lighthearted in telling and pictures, the book feels superficial: Katie gets off the hook without any scrutiny of what is really a cruel and prolonged prank. For a sharper observance of truth and consequences, there's the Caldecott-winning classic by Evaline Ness, Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine.

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 1996

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996