Random/Anne Schwartz. Aug. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593181669.
Alone in a tall tree, a ripe red apple gently sways, taunting the forest animals scurrying below. Mouse is the first to spy the juicy fruit, and she imagines enjoying it all on her own. Cunningly, Mouse hides under a leaf, waiting for the moment to scamper out for her sweet treat. Meanwhile, along comes Hare, who also fancies the shiny apple. He hides in the tall grass, ready to pounce. However, Mouse and Hare are not alone in their desires, for Fox, Deer, and Bear are all ready for the apple to be theirs. A gust of wind blows and finally snaps the apple from the tree. As it falls, the forest animals all at once think “Mine!” and dash to make their claim. The jumble of wrestling animals kicks up a dusty cloud of chaos, out from which the beloved fruit gently rolls unscathed. Young readers will eagerly wait to see which animal wins the apple, and will be served a surprise ending with a sweet and simple message of sharing. Fleming’s cumulative, rhyming story offers a pleasantly predictable plot, presenting potential for becoming a read-aloud favorite. Rohmann’s vibrant illustrations created through relief printmaking are boldly colored and outlined in thick, black lines. This dynamic duo’s storytelling presentation is reminiscent of their previous book, Oh, No!
VERDICT Take a bite of this sweet story to stave off the gimmes.

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