Kleven, Elisa. 2007. The Apple Doll.
Lizzy is a young girl with a common fear: the fear of starting school, the fear of not being able to make friends. But with the help of the girl's favorite apple tree and some creativity, both fears are overcome rather well.
Lizzy loved her apple tree. She loved to pretend it was a skeleton rattling in the autumn wind...a gingerbread cake with snowy frosting...a blossomy springtime cloud...a leafy summer circus. She loved to eat its apples. Apples for crunching, apples for munching, apples for applesauce, cider, and pies. The day Lizzy started school, she picked her favorite apple of all. It was round as a ball, warm as the sunlight--too happy to pack in her lunch box.
This apple is too special for munching. No, it is about to have a special honor--becoming the girl's friend and starting life as an apple doll named Susanna. Susanna also accompanies Lizzy to school--at least on the first day. Soon, the girl realizes that there are plenty of friendly children she can play with instead of an apple doll. But Susanna is no less important. As the weeks pass, Susanna's looks begin to fade away. And I began to fear the worst. (After all, how long can a piece of fruit with a twig body last?) Luckily, her mother remembers how her grandmother made her a dried-apple girl when she was growing up. And fortunately, she still remembers how it was done. Now this special doll can last a lifetime.
The book concludes, as you can imagine, with instructions on how you can make your own apple doll. I really enjoyed this one, and I think that others--kids and adults--will like it as well. It is the perfect read aloud for this time of year.