Johnny Appleseed by Stephen Benet

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Synopsis

Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benét wrote the poem Johnny Appleseed in 1933 as a tribute to the American pioneer, John Chapman. Born in the 1770s in Massachusetts, Chapman drifted down the Ohio River with two canoes lashed together and loaded with apple seeds. For more than forty years, he wandered the Ohio River valley preaching from the Bible and distributing apple seeds, saplings, and medicines to the settlers in the valley as well as to the local native Indian tribes. It is said that Chapman's ragged clothes, religious fervor, and tireless enthusiasm are what contributed to making him the legendary folk hero known as Johnny Appleseed.

S. D. Schindler's magnificent interpretation of the Benéts' poem, filled with humor and beautiful details, brings to life the story of the man we know as Johnny Appleseed, an independent spirit who followed his dreams.

 

About Stephen Benet

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One of America's best-loved poets, Pulitzer Prize-winning Stephen Vincent Benét was born on July 22, 1898, in Fountain Hill, Pennsylvania. He grew up in California and Georgia and attended Yale University. Shortly after his graduation in 1919, he met and married a fellow writer, Rosemary Carr. In 1928, Benét wrote John Brown's Body, a long, narrative poem on the Civil War, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. His short story The Devil and Daniel Webster was adapted into a folk opera in 1939 and made into a movie in 1941. In 1933 Rosemary and Stephen Benét together wrote A Book of Americans, from which Johnny Appleseed is taken. Benét was awarded the Roosevelt Medal and the O. Henry Prize, and in 1938 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Benét died unexpectedly at the age of forty-four on March 13, 1943, and in 1944 he was awarded his second Pulitzer Prize for Western Star, an unfinished narrative poem. On the anniversary of Stephen Benét's one-hundredth birthday, the U.S. Postal Service released a Stephen Vincent Benét postage stamp.
 
Published July 1, 2001 by Margaret K. McElderry. 40 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Johnny Appleseed

Publishers Weekly

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Crafted from quatrains as sturdy as the branches of the trees Chapman tends ("For fifty years over/ Of harvest and dew,/ He planted his apples/ Where no apples grew"), the verses trace how the hero traveled the Ohio River Valley sowing seeds for posterity.

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