An alligator learns that friendship is more rewarding than winning in this children’s tale from writer/illustrator Shapley-Box.
Tator the Gator is feeling glum; his friends are forever winning prizes in the Applefest and, despite his best efforts to win a juggling contest or bake the best apple pie, his little house remains unadorned by any trophy or ribbon. Tator says to his friends: “I have never won a ribbon or crown. I have no talents, and I am lacking skills. I have nothing to put on my windowsills.” His friends plan to coach Tator so he can win the Applefest race. They cleverly craft running shoes for him from a tire and an old shoelace, and hold practice runs with Cabbit the Rabbit manning the stopwatch. On the day of the race, just when Tator is nearing the finish line, and it looks like he’ll have his first a taste of victory, an unexpected wrench is thrown in the works. The story adeptly deals with emotions and issues that even young children struggle with—envy, loss and loyalty, among others.
Shapley-Box tells her tale in rhyming verse with a lively cadence, and some passages are spot-on Seussian. The illustrations are composed well, and some details are lovely, especially the trees, flowers and landscapes. Children are likely to focus on the animals, nearly all which rate high on the cute meter. And indeed, most of the characters are well rendered and have a unique charm.
Appealing to kids while parents may declare the writing and story the winner.
Kirkus Discoveries Reviews
I can tell you from experience that when the children see your book in our gift shop, their eyes light up. I know you and your family are proud of the joy this will bring to many others.
I look forward to a continued partnership at the Hilton Bella Harbor. I can't wait to add Tators Big Race for our traveling guests with little ones.
Hilton Bella Harbor
While at the South Lake Carroll High School craft show last November, I met a very friendly and interesting woman named Diane Box. Diane has written and illustrated a wonderful children's book, Apples For Fred. It is a charming story of a little frog that has a problem, but also has some very devoted friends to help him resolve his problem.
I am a firm believer in the power of reading to children and in teaching them the importance of reading for their entire life. It takes so little effort to read and to continue learning while we are on this journey. I think it is very important to instill the desire to read as early as possible, in every child. I am grateful that there are writers and illustrators in this world continuing to create meaningful and interesting books for children.
A portion of the proceeds from Diane's books goes to Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. She is also on the Committee for Take Steps for Crohns and Colitis, and is in charge of the children's activities at events. Currently she and I are kicking around some ideas for combining her wonderful illustrations and my paper crafting as an activity for children at one the committee's events in the near future.
I purchased this book from an arts festival and the author was kind enough to autograph the book for my son. A year after purchase, this is still one of our favorite books. The story is wonderful and the illustrations are beautiful. You don't find many books this beautifully illustrated. We can't wait for more from this author.
We've already read Tator three times since we got home. Love it. The same thing is to be said about this book- the illustrations are absolutely gorgeous!! The pages are completely covered in beauty, not just the middle like so many other children's books. It must take you forever to do one page but it is so worth it.
Apples for Fred is a great story with beautiful "old school" illustrations. Diane Shapley-Box reminds us what it is to draw with a pen and paper. The illustrations translate beautifully to this over-sized childrens book. This is one you will keep on your bookshelves to read to your grand kids too!