• Happy birthday Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak, Wintergirls), Elizabeth Cody Kimmel (Balto and the Great Race, Glamsters), Alexandra Finn (Beastley), and Lydia Dabcovich (The Polar Bear Son).
  • It’s the birth date of Marjorie Flack (1897-1958) The Story About Ping.
  • In 2001, Apple releases the first iPod. Hence, it is iPod Day!
  • It’s Mole Day! Not in honor of the four-footed mammal, but the basic unit of measuring in chemistry known as Avogadro’s number (6.02 x 10^23). But you might still want to read Mole Music by David McPhail, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Mo Willems, and the Mouse and Mole series by Wong Herbert Lee.

For years I have admired Anne Rockwell’s ability to render the complex simple in her picture books for the very young. Rockwell was one of the pioneers in the area of books for very young readers, ages birth to three. She studied art at Pratt Institute and began to write and illustrate picture books after her children were born; her first published in 1964. In the seventies Anne created a series of groundbreaking books in collaboration with her husband Harlow—The Toolbox, My Doctor, My Dentist—that explained these topics to preliterate children.

Rockwell’s touch has always been light, never preaching, never overexplaining. More than twenty years ago she began working with her daughter Lizzy to extend the range of her nonfiction picture books. Our book of the day, Apples and Pumpkins, explores two of October’s most visible foods. A young child tells the story of the annual fall visit to Comstock Farm to pick apples and pumpkins. Barnyard animals accompany everyone around the orchard. When the family has picked enough apples, they go in search of the best pumpkin. Then the story continues at home where the pumpkin is carved and the apples given out for Halloween.

Often our children have no idea where their food comes from. In Apples and Pumpkins Anne Rockwell takes them out to the farm and captures the activities of a perfect fall day. Clear and clean drawings spell out exactly what is described in the text. In this one book young readers learn about farms, food cycles, and a major holiday. Quite remarkable for a mere thirty-two pages, but that is what Anne Rockwell has always been able to accomplish in her work.

I’m now heading out to a local farm where I can get my own supply of apples and pumpkins. In New England they are two of the reasons why fall is a special time of year. I’m just grateful that we have writers like Anne Rockwell and artists like Lizzy Rockwell who can explain them so well to very young readers.

Here’s a page from Apples and Pumpkins:


Originally posted October 23, 2011. Updated for .

Tags: Fall, Food, Seasons
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Apples and Pumpkins


  1. Jude says:

    I read many Anne Rockwell books to my son when he was a preschooler. Apples and Pumpkins was one of my favorites; his favorite was Planes. He was fascinated by the bunnies in the book who built model planes and flew in real planes.

  2. brandie m says:

    I don’t think I have read one of her books, I will add it to the list.

    I saw this today and thought you might enjoy it: http://www.thepicturebook.co/

  3. Maria Simon says:

    I shared Apples and Pumpkins last Thursday with my baby/toddler storytime! I love it too. It is such a satisfying story. It also works really well as a jumbo book to read to a big group of little ones. I felt like we were all in the car, made the sounds of all the farm animals, felt the excitement of climbing way up high, watching dad use that knife to cut the pumpkin, and enjoying both the funny and scary of Halloween!
    Thanks for bringing so many special books to us each day!

  4. Happy Birthday Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac, and thank you for being such a wonderful resource of children’s literature on the web. I have enjoyed celebrating children’s books, authors and illustrators throughout publishing history with you. Thank you, Anita!

  5. Anita says:

    Teresa: And thank you for your support through this first year!

  6. G. Perry says:

    This book looks like new treasure for me. I love the art and I can’t wait to experience a new children’s book in my life.

    What an amazing time this has been with this website. How much I’ve learned. And how much I’m changed by the reviews and the comments! I know enough to know that the experience of this website is one of those things that can bring new life to empty rooms in the early-heart’s core. Rooms never having had children’s books placed in them in the first place.

    Let us now praise special women. – Lady Anita, thank you.

  7. Anita says:

    Gordon: Thank you! You’ve been with me since the first day — and your comments have made me look at these books in different ways. Thank you for being such a good reader — and writer.

  8. Anita says:

    For those hunting for October 24th, there has been a slight glitch in the computer program. It will be up when fixed. Anita

    If you want to read a wonderful tribute to the Almanac, here’s a great link:


  9. Happy Birthday Children’s Book Almanac!
    Thank you so much for being the perfect companion to my morning cup of coffee. It’s the best way to start my day. Thanks for everything you do Anita!
    Cheers…and to many more posts

  10. Tracy says:

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you for a year of wonderful books! I am one of your faithful followers who has never written a comment to you before. I read your blog first thing every morning so that I can help my 11-year old daughter choose the very best books. She was once a reluctant reader, but is now a voracious one, thanks in part to you and others who help parents find the most captivating stories for our children. I was afraid your almanac, like other almanacs, would last only one year, and am so glad that I was wrong. Many thanks!

  11. Anita says:

    Tracy: Thank you so much for this comment. I am always happy when people feel comfortable enough here to post. I am so happy to hear that your daughter has learned to love books, one of the greatest gifts you can give her as a parent.

    Yes, the Almanac is ongoing. There will be an essay every day — and new books about twice a week.

  12. Star says:

    My very sick 4-year-old was sitting on my lap earlier, and when she saw the picture of the book cover at the top of this page, she smiled for the first time in days and said weakly, “Mama! I LOVE that book about pumpkins and apples. Will you go find it and read it to me? Please? It will make me feel better?” She didn’t have to ask twice. We are huge Rockwell fans around our house. My girls can recite this book with me as I read it! My 2-year-old even “reads” it to her dolls. And Lizzy Rockwell’s illustrations are utterly charming. Love, love, love!

  13. Anita says:

    Star: Thank you for sharing this story. I love the idea that “It will make me feel better.” That is what our favorite books do. Anita

  14. Great choice! I love sharing this story with the kindergarten students.

    Happy Birthday Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac! You have created a wonderful resource Anita, thank you!

  15. Misa says:

    I borrowed this book from library after I read the post today. I was hoping that my 1st grade son would recall his experience from a couple of weeks ago. I read it to him before he went to sleep tonight , but he will read it by himself tomorrow.

    Happy birthday to the Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac! It is my number one resource of selecting books for my son.

  16. Anita says:

    Misa: Thank you for sharing this story with me. Stories like these keep me going on the Almanac.

  17. Becca says:

    I’ve been teaching a class on children’s lit at a local university for the first time this year. Your site has been incredibly invaluable in getting me up to speed on children’s lit. The only problem with the site is that I just can’t seem to stop reading!

  18. Anita says:

    Becca: Glad to hear the site is helpful! I actually send my own children’s lit students to it for background.

  19. Anne Hong says:

    Halloween is coming ^^
    It’s time to read Apples and Pumpkins with my students!!

  20. Great trees. Simple and cute.

  21. I don’t usually comment on reviews, good or bad, of my own books, but I always check into BOOK A DAY ALMANAC because I enjoy the good, clear writing, and am always on the lookout for books to buy for my 4 year old Littlest Grandson. Of course, he knows APPLES & PUMPKINS, but I just wanted to thank you for this cheerful message on a bleak fall day! So–many thanks.

  22. Anita says:

    Thanks Anne for the comment and for this wonderful book, as well as your many others.

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