The Apple Orchard Riddle (Mr. Tiffin's Classroom)

by Margaret McNamara (Author) G Brian Karas (Illustrator)

The Apple Orchard Riddle (Mr. Tiffin's Classroom)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Mr. Tiffin and his students from the perenially popular How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? are back in this picture book about a school trip to an apple orchard!

In this playful, humorous, and child-friendly classroom story, the students learn a lot about apples and apple orchards--including how apples are harvested, how cider is made, and what the different varieties of apples are--while trying to solve a riddle. The book also celebrates how some children learn differently than others.

Margaret McNamara and illustrator G. Brian Karas bring us another fun and educational picture book.
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Publishers Weekly

Mr. Tiffin and his loquacious students take a field trip to an apple orchard in this companion to How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? (2007). Before Farmer Hills (who is, refreshingly, a woman) gives a tour, Mr. Tiffin challenges the kids to solve a riddle: "Show me a little red house with no windows and no door, but with a star inside." The students absorb the farmer's explanation of the orchard's operations as they visit the apple storage barn, cider press, and apple-peeling machine, while considering whether these places might hold the key to the riddle. McNamara's conversational narrative lets the characters' personalities emerge, especially know-it-all Elinor, intuitive Mr. Tiffin, and daydreamer Tara, who does things in her own time and in her own way, and who eventually comes up with the answer to the riddle. Karas's wispy and loose mixed-media cartoons effectively portray the orchard's operations and capture the camaraderie among the students and their teacher. This good-humored story concludes with a note offering extra apple and orchard information. Ages 4-8. Illustrator's agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (July)

Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

K-Gr 2--Mr. Tiffin and his class from How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? (Random, 2007) head out on a field trip. As the students tour Farmer Hills's orchard, they are introduced to many varieties of apples, get a chance to pick some, and watch how cider is made. Mr. Tiffin also gives them a special assignment: "Show me a little red house with no windows and no door, but with a star inside." The children offer many guesses, but it is Tara, the daydreamer among them, who solves the riddle while thoughtfully munching on an apple core. Karas's detailed pencil and acrylic illustrations show the youngsters engaged in lots of hands-on learning, from examining an old tractor to recording their observations in a notebook. A page of apple facts is included. This engaging story will spark fruitful curriculum discussion.--Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada

Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Margaret McNamara
Margaret McNamara is the author of the Robin Hill School series, and she gets many ideas from her daughter's own school experiences. She lives in New York City.

Mike Gordon illustrates the Robin Hill School series and has an extensive and varied background in illustration and design. He lives with his family in Santa Barbara, California.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Schwartz & Wade Books
Publication date
July 20, 2013
Mr. Tiffin's Classroom
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV025000 - Juvenile Fiction | Lifestyles | Farm Life & Ranch Life
JUV035000 - Juvenile Fiction | School & Education
Library of Congress categories
School field trips

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