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[Saturday Reads] A Son’s Portrait of His Father in Klaas Verplancke’s “Applesauce”

Fats here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.

Below is a picture book in translation that you would not want to miss, as well as a list of picture books featuring fathers and sons.



Original title: Appelmoes (2010)
Translated in English by Helen Mixter
Published in the United States by Groundwood Books (2012)
ISBN-10: 1554981867
ISBN-13: 978-1554981861
Copy was provided by Medina County District Library. Sample pages with the original text were downloaded from the Internet.

I’m happy to discover this charming picture book by award-winning author-illustrator, Klaas Verplancke. Klaas is a native of Belgium. He won the Bologna-Ragazzi Award in 2001 for Oziewiezwoze and a Bologna-Ragazzi Special Mention Award for Jot that same year. His multi-awarded picture books include Reus (Giant) and Nopjes (Nelly). He had 10 consecutive nominations for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and was a finalist for the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration for his works as a whole. Appelmoes was considered his “worldwide translated and awarded” picture book.


In a nutshell, Applesauce illustrates the different ways that a boy views his father through a series of slice-of-life vignettes. Some days, the boy’s father has smooth cheeks, while other days he has a cactus that grows out of his chin. The boy thinks that his father has fingers that taste like applesauce, although sometimes his Daddy’s hands are cold and flash like lightning.


For my son and my father. And for all the fathers in the world, who are all sons.

Applesauce was inspired by Klaas’s close relationship with his son. The book beautifully captures the different sides of fatherhood, as seen through the eyes of a child. It’s a heartfelt portrayal of the ups and downs of a father-and-son relationship. It reminds us that, while there may not always be applesauce fingers, “thunder daddies” also do not go on forever.

15 Picture Books About Fathers and Sons

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