(story)time: Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett


I have several books lined up in my drafts folder queue, and one of them was Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett. This is one of the three books that are tucked into Lenny’s suitcase. Lenny, if you remember, is the kindergarten class (stuffed) pet who takes turns weekending with each student.

F’s a reluctant reader – I frequently find her reading to herself, but she really does not enjoy reading aloud. She gets frustrated easily and is pretty hard on herself when she gets tripped up on a word. Sometimes, when she’s on a roll, the words just fall out of her mouth and she looks so pleased and proud of herself. But then she’ll stumble over half a dozen words in a paragraph and shut down completely. I don’t press her, I just take over, smoothing out the rough patches in the story and finishing it up while she listens. She could listen for hours on end, and that’s just fine.

When Lenny came home with F the first time, she was so excited to dress him in his pajamas and read his books to him. It was one of the first times I’ve seen her assume the role of reader on her own, and it was a delight to listen. There are only five words in Orange Pear Apple Bear so it’s not a difficult book to master. But the words move around on every page, and the illustrations do as well. As she turned each page she scanned the pictures first, but then carefully read each word, putting emphasis on the pauses and non-pauses in the rearranged lists. Each page is a surprise, and you have to pay attention to delight in it.
She has all the tools she needs to be a reader, and she will get there in her own time. Her sister devoured books like her body depended upon them for survival – she still deep dives into them, often turning back to the start of a book again as soon as she’s finished up the last page. F prefers to spend her time on the words, and has always preferred poetry to prose. When she’s active in play she’s a whirlwind of motion, which makes it all the sweeter to watch her linger over and delight in the myriad ways that words can create – and recreate – a story.


Yesterday was another example of how much I appreciate this little online community of friends. Adah reminded me that I hadn’t finished this write up when she mentioned this very book in her post on storytime at her own bookstore. And then I read Lauren’s review of this book just before I headed over to the bookstore at lunch to pick up books for the Easter baskets – lucky day, they had one copy left!

P.S. There’s a new Penderwicks book out – The Penderwicks in Spring! (The other Easter basket book – perfect.)

Find these titles at your favorite local independent bookstore. Happy reading!

3 Responses to (story)time: Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett

  1. Oh The Penderwicks! I love these girls…and I’ve been waiting for what feels like forever for this one. We were at Tufts New England Floating Hospital for Children for a speech evaluation for my son, and while he was in with the speech therapist, I found the first Penderwicks on the book shelf. I think it had just been published and I became so absorbed in the story that I actually considered stealing it (with the intention of sending a new copy to the hospital) so I could finish it at home. While I didn’t steal the book, I did immediately run to the bookstore when we returned home and purchased a copy of my own. Having read your post, I immediately ordered the new one! Happy little gift to me…

    • thirdstoryies

      I can’t remember if I wrote about it here, but E wrote to Jeanne Birdsall to try and convince her to write a screenplay – and to also convince her that E would be the perfect choice to cast as Jane!

  2. This book looks so sweet. And I’m so pleased that you snatched up the last copy of Iridescence of Birds. I am such a fan of good children’s books!
    Lauren recently posted…Introducing Kids to GardeningMy Profile

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