Crabapple Trouble by Kaeti Vandorn

Crabapple Trouble is the graphic novel about an anxious apple girl that you didn’t know you needed. At first glance, this book looks like a super cute story but it’s actually so much more, and I totally love it!

Callaway is a girl who also happens to be an apple. She lives in a place with lots of other fruit and vegetable people and fairies. Everyone is responsible for growing their own crop and Callaway worries that her crabapples aren’t good enough. With the Produce Competition coming up at the Summertime Fair Callaway really starts to worry, so much so that she literally loses her head. It pops off and rolls away, bumping into a fairy called Thistle. Callaway and Thistle work together to help sort out not only Callaway’s problem but those of others around them too. Thistle just needs to take a nap first.

Crabapple Trouble is a bright, cheerful story about friendship, worries and figuring out who you are. It is such a relatable story for kids and adults alike, who will see themselves in Callaway and Clementine. Kaeti Vandorn has brought her experiences as a kid to the story and shows kids that they don’t have to be exactly the same as everyone else. I especially love the end of the story as I can totally relate to it. I’d never heard of the term ‘awfulizing’ (to imagine something to be as bad as it can possibly be) but I’m sure we’ve all done it at some stage (either as kids or adults).

Kaeti’s illustrations are so vibrant and full of joy. Some pages are an explosion of colour! They will certainly appeal to younger readers. I loved looking at the illustrations with all the characters, trying to pick out the different fruits and vegetables. Kaeti’s characters are quite simple but very expressive. As a bonus at the back of the book you can learn how to draw Callaway and create your own fruit and vegetable characters.

Crabapple Trouble is one of my favourite graphic novels for younger readers of 2020. This is Kaeti’s first printed graphic novel and I certainly hope we see more of her stories. I know Crabapple Trouble will be a hit with the kids at my school.

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