For a snack they can have Mac the Apple. Just kidding; that would be mean. Mac, you see, is a “good apple,” as Edward Hemingway notes in his provocatively titled “Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship.” What drives Mac to the alleged dark side? The answer is Will, a worm who takes residence in Mac’s head. Ignoring hygienic and parasitical issues, the two become instant best friends — playing in the dirt, flying kites, bobbing in a lake. But the rest of the orchard is appalled. “Look at Mac!” the other apples shout. “He’s got worms! Mac’s a rotten apple!”
Social norms force Mac and Will apart; surprisingly effective, fruit-related pathos ensues before the two friends decide to buck convention and like whom they like. Who cares what anyone thinks? You and I have heard this story before, though not all children have, and some could use hearing it again. Hemingway — Ernest’s grandson — works charming enough variations on the formula to please even the most jaded of adult readers, or at least me, and his cheerfully innocent illustrations are affecting.
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