12 Sep Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship
Honeycrisp apples are back on the shelves at the grocery store, which can only mean one thing…fall is here! Well, almost. Technically, we still have a week and two days left of summer, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. With football season in full swing, pumpkin-flavored everything taking the spotlight, and students returning to the routine of school, it seems as if summer has already said it’s goodbyes. As sad as I am to see it go, I’m excited for fall; It’s my favorite time of year. In order to celebrate the new season, I wanted to share one of my new favorite children’s books.
Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship is a fantastic book by Edward Hemingway. Yes, that Hemingway. Edward is the youngest grandson of Ernest Hemingway and has inherited his grandfather’s talent for the written word. He is an artist, as well as a writer, and his works have been enjoyed by many. The illustrations in this book are as lovely as the story itself.
Bad Apple is something of a misnomer. Mac, the main character, is anything but a bad apple. He is generous and kind to the other apples in the orchard. He loves sharing his toys with friends, painting in Granny Smith’s art class, and lazily bobbing in the watering hole. One rainy night he meets Will, a worm, who cozies his way into Mac’s life. They become fast friends and do everything together: fly kites, bob in the water, read books, finish each others sentences. The only problem with this is that apples and worms aren’t supposed to be friends. The other apples in the orchard are quick to make Mac aware of this. They bully him and call him a “bad apple.” But friendship is stronger than words in this sweet tale and Mac would rather be a “bad apple” than a sad and lonely one.
The themes in this book are friendship, acceptance, and bullying, which all arise at this point in the school year. As we all know, bullying is continuing to be an issue that kids have to navigate on a daily basis. It no longer stops when they get off the school bus. We need to empower them with strategies and give them the courage to make bullying stop. This needs to start at a young age.
This book is geared toward younger children (K-2) and can be used to begin a dialogue about these important life lessons. I created a tutorial for making finger puppets to go along with this book as a vehicle for these conversations.
Here are just a few of the many ways you can use this book and the finger puppets to highlight the themes of friendship, bullying and acceptance:
*Role play how to stand up to the apple bullies in the story
*Talk about why the other apples didn’t accept Will as Mac’s friend
*Examine what it means to be a good friend
*Discuss what it means to be different and the importance of acceptance
*Talk about the power of words
*Ask kids what they would’ve done if they were Mac and Will
I thought it would be fun to have kids make their own finger puppet versions of Mac, Will, and the other apples in the story. I’ve added a tutorial below if you would like to make Mac the way I’ve made him in the picture above. Use it as a guide to help these characters come to life.
How to make a finger puppet Mac:
1. Use freezer paper (shiny side down) to trace around the outside of Mac. I used the image of him on the first page.
2. Iron the freezer paper (shiny side down) onto the felt for Mac’s body. *Fun fact: Freezer paper can be ironed onto felt and fabric to make cutting patterns easier. It “sticks” to whatever you iron it onto and then can be easily peeled off once you are finished cutting.
3. Cut out Mac’s body and peel off the freezer paper.
4. Use the same freezer paper you just cut out and iron it back onto your red felt. This will allow you to have two red apple pieces, which make up the front and back of your finger puppet.
5. Cut out the second apple piece and peel off the freezer paper.
6. Take one of your apple pieces and add Mac’s eyebrows and mouth. I used the book as a reference to help me with the placement of these. I decided to sew black lines using my sewing machine to create a thinner look. You could also use a sharpie or felt for this step.
7. Super glue two googly eyes underneath the eyebrows you just created.
8. Cut pipe-cleaners to create Mac’s arms, legs, and stem. Superglue these and a green leaf to the back of Mac’s face.
9. Glue your front and back apple pieces together. Make sure to leave the bottom open and only glue where you see the blue lines in the picture below.
10. Once dried, place Mac on your finger and he’s ready to go!
I had so much fun making Mac that I decided to make Will and the Golden Delicious apple using similar steps.
I hope you and your loved ones come to love these characters (and their puppets) as much as I do.
But wait, there’s more!! The sequel to this book just came out in August called Bad Apple’s Perfect Day. The story of Will and Mac continues. Happy Reading and Happy fall!