Thursday, September 06, 2007

Johnny Appleseed: My Special Tell-It-Aloud Version

Here's my version of "Johnny Appleseed," especially silly for telling out loud. After a few times through, your kids will be able to fill in lots of the lines. Remember to be super dramatic when you tell the story. After all, what's more dramatic than propagating apples?


An Apple Blossom

Once upon a time, before there was California, before there were movies or televisions or long distance phone calls for seven cents a minute, there was Pittsburgh. Nowadays Pittsburgh is a great big town but back then Pittsburgh was a little town and a little man lived in that town and his name was Johnny. He was a LITTLE man! He was NOT very big! But he loved to grow apple trees and pick the apples and eat them and sell them and make them into cider and spread them all around town. Did you know that apples grow on trees? Well they do!

Now the people of Pittsburgh and New York and Virginia and Boston and other places in the East end of America were itching and scritching and witching to go West. Why go west? Because they wanted to know what was there! And they wanted to live there, all out in the big open spaces, where they could plant their plants, milk their cows, and raise their children in a brand new place. Nobody knew what was out there yet, but the settlers wanted to find out. And Johnny knew that the settlers were going to need... APPLES! Where would they get those apples if they didn't have apple trees? Where would they get apple trees away way way out in the west where nobody ever heard of apples anyway!? Somebody had to get apples out west!


An Apple Tree Painting

So Johnny decided to become a pioneer. A pioneer was someone who went first, ahead of the settlers, who came later. A pioneer showed the way! A pioneer blazed the trail! A pioneer must be a big and strong and powerful man with giant muscles and huge feet! Wait a minute -- Johnny was a LITTLE man! He was NOT very big! But he loved to grow apple trees and pick the apples and eat them and sell them and spread them all around town. So he picked up a biiiiiig bag of apple seeds, and away he went out west.



Apples Ready to Pick!

Now a pioneer needs a lot of stuff. He needs a gun and a knife and a fishing pole, and a big warm coat, and he needs big tough boots, and a belt full of tools. He needs a hat and mittens and he needs pots to cook in, a sleeping bag to sleep on, and all KINDS of other things. But it's no problem for the great big pioneers, because they can carry all that stuff in their wagons! Or on their backs! Because they're soooo big and strong! But wait a minute -- Johnny was a LITTLE man! He was NOT very big! But he loved to grow apple trees and pick the apples and eat them and sell them and spread them all around town. So he chose veeeery carefully. He took a Bible and a bag of apple seeds, and that's it! He set off for the frontier with no shoes, no pot, and no sleeping bag. Just think!

Wherever he went, Johnny cut through the brush and the bracken and the bushes and planted apple trees in long straight rows. Then he built a fence around the trees and that was an apple orchard! Just about the time the sprouts were coming up from the seeds, along would come the settlers! And Johnny sold apple trees to the settlers, little tiny trees that the settlers could take to their brand new place and plant. Fruit trees make everything nice! All the settlers wanted to buy apple trees from Johnny. But being a settler is hard work, and the settlers didn't have very much money. How would they pay for the trees?


Rows of Apple Trees in an Orchard

One settler family came along and said, "Johnny Appleseed! We'd love to have some trees, but I can't pay you any money! What are we going to DO!?!" Johnny said, "Well, let me think. What DO you have?" The family had an extra cooking pot, so they gave it to Johnny, and they took their seedlings, and Johnny put it on his head. It was a hat AND a place to cook his soup! Perfect!

Another settler family came along and said, "Johnny Appleseed! We'd love to have some trees, but I can't pay you any money! What are we going to DO!?!" Johnny said, "Well, let me think. What DO you have?" The family had an extra pair of shoes, so they gave the shoes to Johnny, and they took their seedlings, and Johnny put the shoes on his feet. Now he could walk through the woods without getting cut by thorns! Perfect!

Another settler family came along and said, "Johnny Appleseed! We'd love to have some trees, but I can't pay you any money! What are we going to DO!?!" Johnny said, "Well, let me think. What DO you have?" The family was just about to build their house, and they said that Johnny could come and stay for a while. So they built their house right next to one of Johnny's orchards, and in return Johnny could stay with their family whenever he was close by.

Johnny Appleseed pioneered his way through the brand new territory with a pot on his head, shoes on his feet, and a bag of seeds at his side, planting trees, making friends, and bringing beautiful apple blossoms to the frontier. There are lots of stories about Johnny Appleseed -- why don't you make up one yourself?

Words to Learn: apple, sprout, seedling, seed, bloom, blossom, tree, frontier, pioneer, orchard, settlers.

2 comments:

  1. We are going on a field trip to the apple orchard in Oct. I am so going to use your Johnny Appleseed story to go along with that. Hooray.

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  2. Thanks for contributing this post to the September Carnival of Children's Literature, now up and running at my blog. I think you do a great job with the story!

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