This reissue of a 1959 title misses an opportunity to improve upon the translated text’s lackluster story but will acquaint contemporary readers with the Dutch Bruna’s modernist style.
Although smiling broadly on the cover art, the eponymous apple is sad, as it cannot walk like the beetle that crawls on its leaf and cannot see the world around it from its low vantage point. A compassionate weather-vane rooster offers to help at night. The text says that “once the sky had turned quite black,” the rooster swoops down to carry the apple up to the sky, but the background remains blue at this point, and it’s rather odd that the apple can now see a butterfly, a house and then inside the house to a plate of grapes and a table setting if the night is indeed “quite black.” Of course, apples can’t cry or talk, and weather-vane roosters can’t fly about as tour guides, either, so maybe this is just a case for artistic license and the suspension of disbelief. The cheery palette and simple forms characteristic of Bruna’s work in his better-known titles about Miffy the bunny are inviting, and the circular structure of the tale, returning the apple to its place on the ground, is satisfying.
An odd little story, but a fresh example of Bruna’s work for a contemporary audience. (Picture book. 2-4)