Happy Thanksgiving- Apple Cake: a Gratitude

It is a good week to be grateful.  It is a good week to think about dessert.  Therefore, Apple Cake: a Gratitude.  This book is delightfully simple.  The text could easily be a lullaby and when you read it, a soft smile creeps into your voice.

Dawn Casey uses sweet couplets to describe a girl and her dog gathering ingredients to make an apple cake.  As she goes, she thanks each source for its contribution to her table.

“Thank you, hedge/Thank you, tree/Thank you, flower/Thank you, bee/Thank you, rain/Thank you, sun/Thank you, farmers- every one.”

She ends the book with family and friends gathered together to enjoy their locally sourced dessert.  The apple cake is regal, crowned with apple slices fanned in a beautiful spiral (the book includes a recipe!)  The last verse in the book is nothing fancy- “Thank you for the food we make/Thank you all for apple cake”- but I found it warmed my heart.  It is so pure in its expression.

This is a wonderful book for the youngest readers.  Because each line begins predictably, young children can fill in the blanks.  You could also say the “thank you” part, and then have the child make predictions from the picture about the gratitude on that page.  The illustrations make this easy because Genevieve Godbout’s drawings sing.  The girl and her dog are shown bounding through meadows, gathering flowers, and walking around a farm.  There are so many little details to appreciate, from hidden ladybugs to the glorious apple on the cover page, to the main character’s windswept hair.  On the page where we thank the cows, the girl has her face gently pressed to the cow’s forehead and you feel the tenderness in the gesture.  Everything about this book is soft, gentle, and kind; to read it is a salve.  

Also, can we talk about jacket design?  I know, I know- do not judge a book by its cover.  But what about by its font?  Because I love the title font.  Honestly, it is one of the reasons I picked the book up in the first place.  

We enjoyed this book in September, when I was looking for ways to help our boys through a very lonely Rosh Hashana.  Apples, gratitude- it was all right there.  I think the book equally applies to Thanksgiving, and, if I am being honest, any day of the year.  Because we all need gratitude. . .and we all need cake.

Apple Cake: a Gratitude

  • Written by Dawn Casey
  • Illustrated by Genevieve Godbout
  • Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, September 2019
  • 32 pages, recommended age 3-5

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