Candlewick, August 9, 2016 ISBN 9780763675769

112 pages, illustrated novel-in-verse

Perfect for ages 8-12.



NCTE's list of Notable Poetry Books, 2017, novels-in-verse

A great list!

Nominated for the 2018 Beehive Award by the Children's Literature Association of Utah (CLAU)

2018-2019 Young Hoosier Book Award nominee (Indiana)


a lovely review in

TIME Magazine.

and another in



Here's an interview about Applesauce Weather on BookList's BookPage.


APPLESAUCE WEATHER is one of Booklist's choices for Top Ten Middle Grade Contemporary Novels for Children. Great company on this list , a great pre-publication honor.


Applesauce Weather has been given A 2017 Nerdy Award in the poetry and novels in verse category! Great list of this year's poetry books:

See the whole list here.


Teachers, you can find a discussion guide of Applesauce Weather on the Candlewick website.


Publisher's description:

"In a touching poetic novel, a fall apple ritual along with some inventive storytelling brings a family together as they grieve the loss of a beloved family member.

When the first apple falls from the tree, Faith and Peter know that it s applesauce weather, even though Peter is getting a little old for such things.

It also means Uncle Arthur should be here to tell his stories, with a twinkle in his eye as he spins tales about how he came to have a missing finger.

But this is the first year without Aunt Lucy, and when Uncle Arthur arrives, there s no twinkle to be found and no stories waiting to be told. Faith is certain, though, that with a little love and patience, she and Peter might finally learn the truth about that missing finger.

Paired with warm, expressive illustrations by Amy June Bates, this heartfelt tale by award-winning poet Helen Frost highlights the strength of family and the power of a good story."


APPLESAUCE WEATHER is a Junior Library Guild Selection.


A starred review from BCCB (Bulletin of the Center for children's Books)

FROST, HELEN Applesauce Weather

illus. by Amy June Bates. Candlewick, 2016 [112p] ISBN 978-0-7636-7576-9 $14.99 Reviewed from galleys R* Gr. 2-4

The first fallen apple of the season heralds the beginning of “applesauce weather” and Uncle Arthur’s usual visit to Faith and Peter’s family. However, the passing of Aunt Lucy (the family’s applesauce maker) could mean the family’s best storyteller will not be up to spinning his usual entertaining yarns. No worries, though, as he comes up with the finest version yet of his perennial story of how he lost part of one finger: missing-fingered peddler gives him a pocketknife with instructions to sleep with it open under his pillow: “When I woke up/ the next morning—would you believe it?/ My finger looked/ like it looks today.” When Faith wonders about the truth of the tale, Uncle Arthur encourages her to come up with her own explanation for what really happened, thus sparking the beginnings of a new family storyteller. Young Faith’s voice alternates with those of older brother Peter and Uncle Arthur; the late Aunt Lucy’s voice is included as well, in a song that stitches together the eight short parts, or chapters, of the book. Frost’s poetry—both free verse and rhyming—is warm and specific, as crisp as the crunch of a ripe apple. Romance, grief, and growing up are also expressed through the various characters’ narratives and provide pauses for reflection without disrupting the flow. The frequent mono- chromatic illustrations are sketchy and vigorous yet structured, and they add cozy charm and texture to the story. Folks looking for poetic narratives or rich family drama for the middle-grade set will find this book to be in apple-pie order. JH


Starred review from: KIRKUS REVIEW

Young and old bridge the generational gap to find comfort amid loss.

With this slim offering, Frost returns to the novel in poems, though for a younger audience than the recent Salt (2014). Working with Bates, Frost presents middle-grade readers with white siblings Faith and Peter, who find themselves a bit lost, wondering if beloved Uncle Arthur, a gifted storyteller and trickster, will make the annual trek to visit them for the first apple harvest following his wife’s passing: “A smell in the air—if Lucy were here, / she’d breathe it deep. She’d smile wide. / That’s all it would take—we’d be on our way: / Applesauce weather, she’d say.” Aptly named Faith finds her hopes rewarded when, on the first apple’s dropping, Uncle Arthur shows up despite her mother’s and brother’s doubts and Arthur’s own hesitancy to return to a source of a lifetime of memories with Lucy. Throughout the tale, Bates’ evocative oil-based pencil drawings build on the intimacy of Frost’s narrative, deftly adding motion, whether it be in Faith’s wind-swept hair or Peter hanging upside down from a tree. Frost’s compact first-person poems shift in perspective from character to character, revealing the inner thoughts and feelings of each while simultaneously propelling the narrative and allowing for concise but realistic character development.

Light yet poignant, this multigenerational family tale shows age proves no barrier when it comes to offering solace. (Verse/fiction. 8-12)


Starred Review from BOOKLIST:

Frost, the gifted poet who wrote The Braid (2006), Crossing Stones (2009), and Salt (2013), offers a new verse novel for younger readers. The story unfolds in the past, in the present, and in the imagination—Uncle Arthur’s imagination, that is. All day, Faith and Peter watch to see whether their uncle, grieving after Aunt Lucy’s death, will come back to their farm, as usual, on the day the first apple falls from the tree in their yard. That evening, he returns. He stays to share meals and memories, to peel apples for applesauce, and to tell a story to his great-niece and great-nephew. But they wonder, this time will he finally reveal how he really lost half of his finger? Before he leaves, Uncle Arthur gives Peter the knife he’s carried for 60 years and passes along to Faith the gift of storytelling. Written with simplicity and grace, the story is told in three distinctive voices—or four, counting the seven interspersed verses of “Lucy’s Song.” From the light, airy lattice motif that opens each chapter to the well-defined character portrayals throughout the book, beautiful shaded pencil drawings enhance the story. Fresh, sweet, and crisp, this novel has a magic all its own. — Carolyn Phelan



Gr 3-5–The fall of the first apple from the tree is the signal to Faith and Peter that it is applesauce weather and their aunt Lucy and uncle Arthur are on their way. But Peter and Faith aren’t sure if Uncle Arthur will make it this year, as it is the first without his beloved Lucy. When Uncle Arthur finally arrives, he is not quite himself. He has lost the twinkle in his eye, and he is not energetically spinning yarns as he usually does. Faith and Peter are patient and slowly bring Uncle Arthur back to himself. They are hopeful that this will be the year he finally tells them truthfully how he lost his finger. This sweet story is told in verse through short, alternating chapters. Readers learn about Faith, Peter, and Uncle Arthur’s perspectives and personalities through individual narrative poems. The book is divided into eight parts, each preceded by short poems entitled “Lucy’s Song,” through which readers are also introduced to Lucy and Arthur’s life story from Aunt Lucy’s point of view. The illustrations are charming and bring the setting to vivid life. VERDICT This quick, charming read is suited for those newly introduced to poetry or coping with a loss.–Tiffany Davis, Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, NY


Quotes from early reviews:

"A quick read, a quiet, gentle story, and sweet illustrations throughout make this an easily accessible verse novel for a reader new to the genre or one who is missing a beloved older relative." See the entire review at: A Year of Reading by Mary Lee Hahn.

"I love this little book. It's only 112 pages and you can read it in no time at all. It has quite a lot of illustrations, perfectly charming ones at that, and looks like a book for very early middle-grade readers, but the richness of the story and the complexities of the characters and the mature issues discussed along with the beautiful, lyrical writing may well garner some older readers as well. I particularly love the inclusion of a verse from Aunt Lucy, the great-aunt who has passed away and who was so important to the characters, at the beginning of each chapter." See the entire review at: The Write Stuff by Rosi Hollinbeck