Apple Pigs By Ruth Orbach



Apple Pigs by Ruth Orbach

In keeping with our recent gardening-related posts and ideas, we thought we’d review Apple Pigs – another oldie, but goodie that brings back happy childhood memories, both of reading and of apples, straight from the tree.


First published in 1976, and written in rhyme, this book is a wonderful tool for teaching your children about gardening and caring for the plants and trees around us. With a little love, they can give back a lot.

Apple Pigs is about a tired, neglected tree, sitting in the yard of a little girl. The tree has no leaves and no fruit, but the little girl doesn’t want to chop it down. She knows that with the right care, this tree could really be something.

So she clears the land around it, rakes and tends the earth and lo and behold, in spring, the blossoms burst and the apples begin to grow.

Pretty soon they have more apples than they know what to do with; but the girl has a plan and an ‘apple feast’ is had by all!

At the end of the story, a procedural text outlining how to make Apple Pigs, is included. This would be a fun activity to help introduce your child to procedural writing.

Why I love it:

I love the overall message of the story: that with love and care, even the saddest looking tree can come back to life. This message does not need to apply only to plants and trees, we could also talk to our children about how this idea can also apply to people.

I also love a good rhyming narrative; a text that flows easily. It’s fun to read and your children will love seeing all the animals that turn up for the apple feast.

I didn’t save hundreds of books from my childhood (although I’m sure I wanted to) but I did save this one, and reading it again, I can see why.

Themes to discuss with your child:

  • Care and kindness
  • How to look after plants and trees in our gardens
  • The different seasons
  • Rhyming patterns
  • Procedural texts
  • Sharing
  • Problem solving
  • The old saying: ‘You reap what you sow.’ Although most often used as a warning, this saying works in a positive light here, both literally and metaphorically.

Questions to ask your child:

Before reading:
  • What do you think this book might be about?
  • Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
  • Is this a book you want to read? Why/why not?
  • Why do you think the book is called ‘Apple Pigs’?
  • Do you like apples? What’s your favourite way to eat them?
  • There is only one name on the cover of the book, when usually there are two. Why do you think only one person is named here?
  • When do you think this book was written? What makes you think this?
After reading:
  • Did you enjoy this story? Why/why not?
  • Why do you think the girl was so keen to save the tree?
  • Of all the apple dishes they made, which one would you most like to eat?
  • Which dish did the girl make?
  • Have a look at the publishing information inside the cover; when was the book written?
  • Why is there only one name on the cover?
  • Have a look back at the first page of the story. Can you list the rhyming word pairs on this page?
  • List 4 animals that came to the apple feast.
  • What do you think is the message of this story?

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