________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 36. . . .May 17, 2013


No Ordinary Apple: A Story About Eating Mindfully.

Sara Marlowe. Illustrated by Philip Pascuzzo.
Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications (www.wisdompubs.org), 2013.
36 pp., hardcover, $13.56.
ISBN 1-61429-076-8.

Subject Headings:

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Meredith Cleversey.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



“First off, tell me this: What color is the apple?”

“It’s red,” Elliot said quickly.
“Is it? Look VERY closely.”

Elliot rolled the apple around in his hands. He noticed that some spots were green, and others were a little brown. There were even a few dull, black speckles.

“Hmmm. There are so many different colors here. I guess it isn’t just red!”

“A very good observation. And what does it feel like?”

“Ummm...” Elliot looked puzzled. “Like an apple?” he said.

Carmen laughed. “Slowly feel it with your fingers. What do you notice?”

“It’s a little cold...Some parts are smooth, and others are bumpy. Some places are hard, and some are a little soft. Neat!”


Elliot is hungry for a snack. He is hoping for some delicious candy, and he is disappointed when Carmen, his neighbour and after-school sitter, offers him an apple to eat instead. But Carmen reveals a secret, that the apple is special. She asks Elliot to very carefully look at the apple, smell it, feel it, listen to it, and slowly taste it bite by bite. As Elliot follows her instructions, he experiences a host of sensations, some familiar and others brand new. He realizes that the apple is special after all; it is the best apple he’s ever eaten because he’s taken the time to eat it mindfully. Before Elliot goes home, Carmen tells him he can try this new kind of eating with all foods, those that are his favourites, and even those he may not think he likes.

internal art     No Ordinary Apple, by Sara Marlowe, shows readers how easy it is to slow down and to take the time to understand and appreciate food. Elliot does not like some healthy foods like apples, and instead only wants candy to eat. But, by taking the time to taste, smell, feel, listen, and examine his food before and while he eats it, he experiences unique sensations and tastes, showing him a whole new side to a food he’d previously discarded as boring and tasteless.

     This story is a wonderful introduction to the concept of eating mindfully. While Carmen urges Elliot to try new foods and to give healthy options careful consideration, this book does not push readers into thinking that only certain food choices are worthwhile. Instead, No Ordinary Apple explains how all foods can be eaten mindfully, and that by taking more time to think about what is being eaten, new foods may be enjoyed as well. In fact, this concept of being mindful can be expanded beyond the realm of food. Readers can learn from this tale that slowing down and experiencing the small sensations of every day can lead to a greater appreciation of the world as a whole.

      The illustrations by Philip Pascuzzo are vibrant and colourful. The pictures are full of movement, and almost every page has a different illustration style or background design, giving the entire book variance that provides readers with something to compare and discuss even after the text of the story is finished.

      No Ordinary Apple is an entertaining story about using more than just the sense of taste to appreciate food. By looking at, smelling, touching, and even listening to food, the simple act of eating something like an apple can be creative, surprising, and fun. Teachers, parents, and readers alike can use this story as a starting point for discussing the concept of engaging all senses and being mindful of the little things in many aspects of life. And the instructions that Elliot follows in this book can easily be repeated by readers the next time they eat something themselves. This is an excellent tale about the wonders of food, and it will be a great addition to any collection.

Highly Recommended.

Meredith Cleversey is a librarian in Cambridge, ON. She loves to read, write, and live in a world of pure imagination.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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