A familiar "star inside the apple" story is reworked to include the themes of self-worth and confidence, couched in a divine message.
Surrounded by large oaks, a lonely little apple tree looks up and sees the twinkling of stars, which appear to be hanging from the tops of the oak branches. With each passing season, she begs God for the same: “I want more than anything in the world to have stars. Then I would feel truly special.” Even as her own fragrant blossoms turn into tasty apples, little apple tree persists in her wish, while God encourages patience. It is only after God becomes exasperated and creates a hard wind that forces some apples to fall and split open, revealing their own internal "star," that the little apple tree realizes and happily accepts her own attributes. Watercolor paintings of a saccharine forest environment with smiling critters and grinning tree trunks dilute the increasingly strenuous responses from God, who waits for some implied recognition of his overall message. And while the apple tree finally understands, children will require some follow through to completely comprehend the forced moral, which is spelled out in the afterword.
Strained. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)