Bad Apple Book Review: A Tale of Friendship

Inside: A book review of the Bad Apple A Tale of Friendship. Includes book-related activities and a printable art project.

Bad Apple Book Review: Mac is a GOOD apple who learns to stand up to the bullies in the orchard when they start teasing him because of his new friend, Will the Worm. Perfect for Grade 1.

This little gem was recommended to me by Barbara, from The Corner on Character.

I actually wrote this post a couple of years ago. Since it’s a popular post I thought it was worth updating, especially at this time of year, because it has lovely messages about friendship and bullying.

Whenever I read it to my class it’s always a BIG hit!

Title: Bad Apple ~ A Tale of Friendship
Author / Illustrator: Edward Hemingway
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012
Recommended Age: 4-8
Theme: Friendship, Kindness, Bullying
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Opening Lines: “Mac was a good apple. He shared his toys with the other apples, helped Granny Smith pick up after art class, and loved to dive fearlessly into the watering hole.”

Synopsis: Mac is a GOOD apple who learns to stand up to the bullies in the orchard when they start teasing him because of his new friend, Will the Worm. These two unlikely friends are so close that they even finish each other’s sentences. But Mac gets called names like “Bad Apple” and “Rotten” because who ever heard of an apple and a worm being friends. The friends part ways but, happily, after a sad and lonely day of being without Will, Mac decides life isn’t worth living without his best bud.

My Thoughts: This is the perfect book to read to K, Grade 1 and Grade 2 students at the beginning of the school year (or whenever a reminder about bullying is needed). It’s the perfect stepping stone into a discussion about the importance of standing up for our friends, accepting other’s differences, being kind, and handling bullies. My first graders love this book and so do I!

Classroom Connections:
1. There’s a great interactive site called Kids Against Bullying. It’s full of facts, strategies, games, and colouring sheets like this one:

2. Most people have heard of the Wrinkled Heart activity, but it’s such a good one, it’s worth mentioning again. I’ve done this activity for years and it really hits home with the kids.

Essentially, you have the kids take turns crumpling a large heart, while they say something mean to an imaginary person. Then the heart is passed around again, but this time the kids say something kind and smooth out the heart.  Of course, even with all the smoothing and soothing, the heart is still wrinkled, just as a real heart would be after enduring some serious bullying.

I love the idea of adding everyone’s name on a band-aid. It helps to give ownership to the activity, and clearly demonstrates that “band-aid” fixes will NOT mend a broken and scarred heart.

I don’t have any pictures, but fortunately First Grade Wow! does.  I love how she also has a great little packet of activities to go along with the wrinkled heart.  Be sure to check it out.

3. Toothpaste Activity: This is also a very cool activity which clearly demonstrates that bad words cannot be taken back. Have a child squirt some toothpaste in a line along some paper. When they’re finished, ask them to put the toothpaste back into the tube. Of course, it’s impossible; just as it’s impossible to take back unkind words. You can find this activity and more at The Bully Proof Classroom.

4. Very Well Family has a fabulous page of literally dozens of posts on bullying. It addresses all ages and different types of bullying. Here’s a brief sampling of some of the articles they offer: “Why Certain Kids are Targeted by Bullies More Than Others”, “Understanding the Mean Girl Phenomenon”, and “More Kids are Cyberbullied than are Bullied”. This is definitely a page you need to check out.

5. I also have an apple mosaic art activity.


Give each child an apple sheet with a grid superimposed (click here for a copy). Have them use warm coloured crayons to colour the squares inside the apple, and cool coloured crayons for the squares outside the apple (this little artist used a yellowish green on the outside instead of the blue-greens, but it still looks pretty awesome!).

Looking for more books and activities? Be sure to check out Susanna’s Perfect Picture Book links!


Bad Apple Book Review: Mac is a GOOD apple who learns to stand up to the bullies in the orchard when they start teasing him because of his new friend, Will the Worm. Perfect for Grade 1.


25 thoughts on “Bad Apple Book Review: A Tale of Friendship”

  1. Oh my goodness…You got a comment from the author! I feel so honored to be in his company! I LOVE this book and my students do too! Thank you for the apple mosaic project. I'm going to try it this week!Jenny

  2. Hi Barb,I read the Bad Apple during my apple unit. I like reading books like that (with the ensuing short bullying discussion) throughout the year as a reminder of how important our actions and words are. I just found One by Kathryn Otoshi which is another wonderful book for young children about bullying that I am going to read to my kiddos soon. LynMrs. Goff's Pre-K Talesps – I love the apple mosaics. They are really beautiful.

  3. Hi Barb! can't believe I missed this post!!! It's amazing what you find on a lazy Sunday morning before church. A beautiful book and perfect focus for any age really. I love the mosaic art you created and I am going to do it with my class. I will ask our library to buy the book. Thank youJulie Mrs Stowe's Kinder Cottage


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