by Sam Juliano
After some wicked witch-possessed trees regale Dorothy and her new friend in The Wizard of Oz for picking apples off them, the Scarecrow initiates a sobering conversation:
Scarecrow: Come along Dorothy. You don’t want any of those apples.
Tree: Are you hinting that my apples aren’t what they ought to be?
Scarecrow: Oh no. Its just that she doesn’t like little green worms.
Alas, that unflattering perception isn’t shared by an ironically named mackintosh apple who first rolled onto the stage in 2012 in a book titled Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship. His stay was so welcomed by all varieties of America’s favorite fruit and masses of the fisherman’s favorite bait -not to mention adoring young school children- that its creator, Edward Hemingway -the youngest grandson of you-know-who- opted for an encore.
Technically, Bad Apple’s Perfect Day is considered a sequel, but in effect, like the Caldecott Medal winning Madeline’s Rescue it involves new adventures with some of the same players. Like its predecessor it is lively, vibrant, funny and imbued with a great deal of positive energy. The bold and imaginative oil on canvas art offers up some sublime set pieces, with a ravishing use of red, green and yellow, and brings in a plethora of compositional diversity. Friendship in film, literature and theater has often yield some of the most seemingly incompatible unions, but it would hard to imagine any more dysfunctional that that of an apple and a worm, since intrusion by one into the other has always signifying irreversible spoiling. While apple-loving children, who have been indoctrinated by their parents to the tune of “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” may have always had warm feelings for the red and green fruit, they are not normally receptive to worm infiltration. In any case, this fruit, so integral to the story arcs of William Tell and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is an American institution, and is a natural fit to receive life giving properties. Hemingway has done just that in his two irresistible picture books. (more…)