Apples to Oregon:

Being the (Slightly) True Narrative of How a Brave Pioneer Father Brought Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Grapes, and Cherries (and Children) Across the Plains.

by Deborah Hopkinson and Nancy Carpenter

Apples to Oregon book cover

In this original tall tale, Delicious describes her family's journey from Iowa to Oregon in the 1800s. Daddy loves the idea of going west but he can't bear to leave his apple trees behind. He constructs two special wagons, fills them with "good, wormy dirt," and packs in hundreds of plants and trees. "Apples, ho!" he cries, and off they go. When they reach the Platte River-"wider than Texas, thicker than Momma's muskrat stew"-Delicious helps her father build a raft to ferry the seedlings-and the family-across. Everyone makes it to the other side, just barely. Before long, a hailstorm hits, scattering bonnets, petticoats, and even Daddy's drawers. Other larger-than-life challenges await the family, but inventive Delicious always manages to save the day. Soon, they're all floating down "the mighty Columbia." They plant those trees in Oregon soil, and everyone lives happily ever after. An author's note explains that this story is based loosely on Henderson Luelling, a pioneer who really did transport plants and fruit trees to Oregon in 1847. Hopkinson's version, of course, is just pure fun and make-believe. Carpenter's oil paintings are filled with vivid shades that reflect the changing scenery. Amusing details abound, and the slightly exaggerated humor of the pictures is in perfect balance with the tone of the text. The plucky heroine-wearing a bright red dress, white pinafore, and confident smile-often takes center stage. An entertaining choice for storytimes or an amusing supplement to units on westward expansion.
-Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA

About the Author:

Deborah Hopkinson has been an award winning author since her first picture book, Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, won the 1994 International Reading Association Award. Iillustrated by James Ransome, SWEET CLARA was also a Reading Rainbow, Children's Book-of-the-Month Club selection and notable book in the field of Social Studies. Her second picture book, Birdie's Lighthouse, illustrated by Kimberly Bulcken Root, received a Parents Choice Silver Honor. A Band of Angels, A Story Inspired by the Jubilee Singers, illustrated by Raul Colon, was an ALA Notable. Fannie in the Kitchen, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, was a Smithsonian Notable book and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2001. Her other 2001 title, Bluebird Summer, received the Golden Kite Honor Award for best picture book text. In 2003, Under the Quilt of Night was named a winner of the Washington State Book Award. Girl Wonder won the Great Lakes Book Award, was a Jane Addams Children's Book Award honor book, a CCBC Choices, and an Amelia Bloomer Project title. Shuting Out the Sky was a Booklist Editors' Choice, Booklinks Lasting Connections, NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor book, and a Jane Addams Children's Book Award Honor book. Apples to Oregon won the Golden Kite Award, Spur Award, and was an ALA Notable book.

Deborah's stories and articles have appeared in Scholastic's Storyworks Magazine, as well as in Cricket and Ladybug. Deborah was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. She had a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Massachusetts and a master's in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii. She lives in West Linn, Oregon

  • Miller Foundation
  • Starseed Foundation
  • Oregon Public Broadcasting