New books on apples are published regularly, but this one is outstanding. Concisely, yet with contagious enthusiasm, Micucci (who, as part of his research, planted exactly 23 apple seeds in his N.Y.C. apartment, of which ""two were successfully moved to Central Park"") describes the apple's cycle and its culture in detail and gives a delicious taste of other subjects: the apple's uses, place in world economy (the ""U.S.S.R."" grows the most), varieties, history, lore. Micucci's lucid text flows logically from one topic to another. His pencil and watercolor illustrations are lively and attractive, while even such minutiae as the joint between twig and emerging bud are precisely observed; a page illustrating grafting is clear enough to use as a manual. An excellent survey that also sparks interest in other areas of knowledge. Though appropriate for the audience suggested by the picture-book format, the information is substantial enough to be also useful for older children.