Unusually Large Paper Bag Radish
A Tree is Nice

Apple Farmer Annie


Dear Friends, 

Welcome back to Off the Shelf! We are back after some time off to refocus, redesign our site, and discover some new treasures in the world of children's literature. We are also changing the format and schedule of our posts: Each Wednesday, we will publish all content for the book of the week. We feel that this will be a simpler way to present our content and inspire you and your young readers to discover and enjoy these great books.

Autumn is our favorite time of year, the time of fresh starts with a new school year and the shift in seasons. It is truly the season for the senses: the smell, sound, and color of rustling leaves, the aroma of spices wafting from the kitchen, and the delicious taste of apple and pumpkin in everything from soup and salads to pies and parfaits. Autumn also brings us a wealth of wonderful books to enjoy and spark imaginations. So come join us with the first of our fall book pick for this year!


Apple Farmer Annie

by Monica Wellington

Nothing says autumn like crisp, juicy apples and we have discovered a fun, little book that celebrates all things apples. Apple Farmer Annie is a charming and cheery book fill with bright primary colors, simple shapes and detailed pages that are fun to explore over and over again to discover something new.

Apple Farmer Annie 1

Set on Annie’s apple farm, readers have the fun of following Annie through her chores of harvesting, sorting, and counting apples; making delicious treats with her apples (recipes included); and heading off to market to sell her produce.

Apple Farmer Annie 2

Apple Farmer Annie 3

Monica Wellington has written a book that is both educational and entertaining and inspires young minds to think beyond apples as a simple fruit, to explore the many varieties, think about where they come from, and the many foods that can be made with them. Apple Farmer Annie is a wonderful addition to any fall reading list.


In this Issue



Whole Wheat Apple Oatmeal Cookies

I love children's books that feature recipes in the back (the blueberry pancakes in Ol' Black Witch come to mind!). It was details like this that encouraged books to come alive and sparked the idea behind Off the Shelf. Apple Farmer Annie obliges by featuring three recipes: Applesauce, Apple Muffins, and Applesauce Cake.

Apple Farmer Annie

We started with a applesauce-oatmeal cookie, but adjusted the sugar for over-the-top sweetness, converted to 100% whole wheat, and swaped in diced fresh apple to accompany the applesauce for a throurally apple-y cookie. The result is the perfect balance between a healthy snack and a special treat. 

Whole Wheat Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Whole Wheat Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from Iced Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Make about 48 2-inch cookies


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped apple, any variety (we used Granny Smith), roughly 1 small apple or 1/2 of a large apple


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and sugars until combined. 
  3. Add egg and applesauce, and mix until combined.
  4. Add oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and stir on low speed until well combined. Stop machine and scrape down sides of bowl to make sure everything is well mixed. 
  5. Stir in chopped apple. 
  6. Use a 2 -inch cookie scoop, place cookies on baking sheet, spacing roughly 2 inched apart. Bake for 10-14 minutes, until golden and set. 




Dried Apple Puppet

Making dried apple dolls and puppets was a favorite activity of early American children who had to truly engage their imaginations when creating playthings. We have created a simple version that while still engages the imagination (and patience while waiting for the apple to dry) is not too complex for young readers.

Why We Like It

  • Stimulates the imagination
  • Encourages creativity and discovery
  • Allows for learning through play
  • Encourages development of speaking and listening skills
  • Engages observational skills


Dried Apple Puppet

Dried Apple Puppet

Dried Apple Puppet

Dried Apple Puppet


Dried Apple Puppet

What You Will Need

  • Apple – the bigger the better
  • Peeler
  • Plastic knife
  • Pencil
  • Fabric scrap or napkin
  • Yarn
  • Markers of water-based paints
  • Glue
  1. Completely peel the apple.
  2. Holding the apple so the stem is at the top of the head, use the plastic knife to carve depressions for the eyes, nose, and mouth.
  3. Place a small scrap of fabric or a napkin over the dull point of a pencil.
  4. Press the point of the pencil into the bottom of the apple to make the puppet’s stick.
  5. Place the apple in a sunny spot to dry.
  6. Check your puppet’s progress everyday to see how it changes. It may take a few weeks to dry out.
  7. Once the apple is dry you may choose to use markers or water-based paints on the face. Add yarn for hair and you are ready to put on a puppet show!


A peek at the Off the Shelf archives shows how much we love fall! Here are some more apple books, recipes, and activities featured in the past:


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