THE SUN, THE RAIN, AND THE APPLE SEED by Lynda Durrant

THE SUN, THE RAIN, AND THE APPLE SEED

A Novel of Johnny Appleseed’s Life
Age Range: 10 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Environmentalist, pacifist, vegetarian, religious devotee, visionary, nut—John Chapman, a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed, was all these, and possibly the latter most of all. The fact that, as Durrant proposes, he “wasn’t right in the head” led her, she says in an afterword, to cast Chapman’s life in novel form so that she could deal better than biographers have with Chapman’s seeing, hearing, and conversing with angels and spirits. Readers will learn some interesting and perhaps hitherto-unknown facts about Johnny besides these. For example, he regularly quoted Bible verses extensively to one and all even in the course of ordinary conversation; once, in order to warn settlers of an impending Indian raid, he ran nonstop through the wilderness for three days and nights and thus saved many lives; he talked himself out of being murdered by Seneca villagers and was thereafter honored and afforded safe passage by them; he lost several toes and fingers to frostbite from his decades of wandering through the forests; toward the end of his life, he spent nine months in an Ohio jail for nonpayment of taxes; and he may have met the young Abraham Lincoln. Unfortunately, in order to reach these passages, readers will have to slog through stilted writing (an uneven mix of the author’s attempt at capturing the period style and Johnny’s voice) and minutiae that testify to Durrant’s extensive research into the historical record but that make for some lackluster reading. Johnny Appleseed’s life is one to be admired, despite his many eccentricities. Gentle-hearted, he was committed to respect for and kindness toward nature and all living things. This is unlikely to be the apple of anyone’s eye. Stick to good biographies. (afterword, bibliography) (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 24th, 2003
ISBN: 0-618-23487-X
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2003




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