The Earth Provides: A Review of ‘How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World’

“God created the universe in such a manner that all in common might derive their food from it, and that the Earth should also be a property common to all.” – St. Ambrose

Reading Level

AR 3.1 [0.5 points]

Interest Level

Pre-K – Grade 2

Review and Comments

A plan to make an apple pie seems rather straightforward.   After all, it’s only a matter of following a few important steps beginning with a trip to the grocery store. If the store is closed, however, how does one get all the necessary ingredients?  Well, you just travel around the world and gather the best and freshest items on your list. And a bonus to the trip is the experience of traveling on different modes of transportation from a steamer to a parachute.  The shopping list takes the reader to Italy for semolina, France for the best possible eggs, Sri Lanka for the amazing spice of cinnamon, England for the freshest milk, Jamaica for sweet sugar cane, and crisp apples from Vermont.

Finally, the dessert is ready.  This piece of hot apple pie needs ice cream, but there will be no shopping detours this time because it is definitely time to eat that pie!

The adventure of the trip demonstrates stewardship of the earth’s resources – gifts to be cared for and shared with others. The detailed illustrations in this book are large and colorful.  They convey a sense of joy throughout the shopping trip around the world and conclude with the generosity of sharing with others.

Possible Concerns

There are no concerns with this book.

Further Discussion


These are words in the book that may need further definition:

semolina, steamship, elegant, ingredients, pear-shaped, acquaintance, charming,  plantation, stalks, sugar cane , mill, grind, evaporate, churn,  persuade, prevent, “brush up on”, kurundu tree

Words in a Word:

List of all the words you can make from the word cinnamon.

 Food Activities:

  1.  Taste different kinds of apples (yellow, green, red) and write adjectives that describe each kind.
  2. “10 Minute Homemade Butter” from Happy Hooligans explains the step by step process of making homemade butter. It also includes a link to a scientific explanation of what happens to the cream when making butter.
  3. Use this information from Healthy Kids Association to sort the ingredients from the shopping list into food groups: Dairy; Fruit; Grain (cereal) foods; Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, and seeds; Vegetables, legumes and beans.  Cinnamon can be in its own group under Spices. [These group headings were taken from an article about the 5 food groups.]
  4. Make an apple pie following the recipe at the end of the book. [Don’t forget the ice cream!]

Map Skills:

  1. Use the map at the end of the book to follow the path of the trip, or use a world map or globe to find: Italy, France, Sri Lanka, England, Jamaica, and Vermont.
  2. Make a map or a chart showing the 6 places visited in the story. Glue a picture of each product on the location. [Example: Milk on the country of England]

Catholic Resources

CCC 2402 In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits. The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race….

Genesis 1:1, 11-12, 29-31:

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,…

God said, “Let the earth bring forth vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seed in it.” And so it happened: the earth brought forth every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seed in it. God saw how good it was.

God also said: “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, I give them all the green plants for food.” And so it happened. God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day.

Prayer of Intercession:

O God,
from the very beginning of time
you commanded the earth to bring forth vegetation
and every fruit of every kind.
You provide the sower with seed and give bread to eat.
Grant, we pray, that this land,
enriched by your bounty and cultivated by human hands,
may be fertile with abundant crops.
Then your people, enriched by the gifts of your goodness,
will praise you unceasingly now and for all ages unending.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

[Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers]


Prayer before Meals:

Bless us, oh Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Patron Saints of Food:

St. Lawrence is the patron saint of cooks. [Feast day – August 10]

St. Martha is the patron saint of cooks. [Feast day – July 29]

St. Elizabeth of Hungary is the patron saint of bakers. [Feast day – November 17]

St. Honore (Honoratus) is the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs. [Feat Day – May 16]