Apples - How they Grow (book cover)

How They Grow

Hardcover: Out of Print
copies Available
at the
Apple Island Books bookstore

Bruce's Fourth Book
1979 - Houghton Mifflin
ISBN 0-395-27806-6
Visit this book's orchard...
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"An artistic statement
as well as a visual experience, the book reinforces the concept of photography as an art form
and the photographer as illustrator"

The Horn Book Magazine, August 1979

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Personal Note

Apples, published in 1979, is still in print today making this my longest book to stay in print with it's original publisher.

Obviously I spent a year photographing the life cycle of apples. However, it took a little longer - an extra half-year - because when the blossom petals fell I realized I might have missed something. I was distracted by the beauty of the blossoms. I had countless shots of blossoms and clusters of blossoms, but non that clearly showed what's underneath the blossom. When I saw the full set of photos sequenced it confirmed my suspicion. So I went back the next spring to photograph close-ups that clearly show the base beneath the apple blossom, the beam of sunlight shining on the start of the apple.

I photographed this at McDougal Orchard, a family owned pick-your-own orchard where you still can pick today. Don't expect to find the big trees to climb on in the book, though. Today they've been replaced with more varieties and smaller trees that are easier to pick from.

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McDougal's Orchard is located in southern Maine between routes 202 and 11A in Springvale on Hanson's Ridge Road. They're open daily 9-5, mid-August through October. You can pick-your-own or get ready-picked fruit from more than fourteen varieties on mostly dwarf trees. They have pumpkins and sweet cider in season, and hay rides on weekends.
Find a "pick-your-own"
Orchard Near You

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There is magic in an apple. Right before your eyes it changes from velvety bud to a blossom of the very palest pink. Suddenly, the petals disappear. At the base of the flower you notice something you had overlooked before, a small green swelling that grows and grows, changing in color and texture. Its dark green, fuzzy skin fades, becomes glossier and redder until finally you see a ripe, red apple, ready for picking, hanging from the tree.

Using stunning, close-up photography, Bruce McMillan reveals the minuscule stages of an apple's growth in a book that will be enjoyed by everyone. This book is for the youngest child, who can follow the apple's progress just by looking at the pictures on the right-hand pages, to those who will be able to read and appreciate the clear, descriptive details on the left.

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Horn Book Magazine

"A microcosmic as well as
a macrocosmic view."

Bruce McMillan, Author-Photographer
Apples: How They Grow
CIP 48pp. 10 1/8" x 8 1/8"
Houghton Mifflin 1979 ISBN 0-395-27806-6 $6.95

A thoughtfully produced, well designed visual documentary, the book traces the development of apples from the appearance of fruiting spurs in winter to the ripe apples in fall. Combining close-up photography with distance shots, the author-photographer has achieved variety without sacrificing specificity. For each step in the apple's development, he provides a microcosmic as well as a macrocosmic view, proceeding from a single detail to that detail seen in relation to the whole. In one sequence, for example, an individual blossom is seen as part of a cluster, then as part of the bough, finally becoming indistinct as part of the massed blossoms on a single tree. The accompanying text is really two texts in one: A straightforward declarative sentence in large type provides sufficient information for the beginning reader, and more sophisticated information is printed in captions for the small photographs.

An artistic statement as well as a visual experience, the book reinforces the concept of photography as an art form and the photographer as illustrator. M.M.B.

This copyrighted © review originally appeared in The Horn Book Magazine and appears here with permission.

Kirkus Reviews
April 15, 1979

"Smashing close-up photos tell a story worth following."

McMillan, Bruce
Photos by the author
Houghton Mifflin
3/26 LC 78-27147
ISBN: 395-27806-6

How do you read this? You can take a first trip through the book following only the large-print, one-sentence captions and the full-page photos that show the fruit's development from bursting bud to leafy cluster to blossom to swelling ovary and finally a juicy red apple. Or you can try to take in as well the series of three frames, each with a longer, small-print caption, that elaborates on each stage. McMillan's format is indeed distracting, and his dry, curt text will elude the designated three-to-eight-year-old readership: terms like "fruiting spurs" aren't explained; pollen "adheres"; at one stage "the complex sugars, or carbohydrates, break down into simple sugars, transforming the hard, tart apples..."; and the leaf's manufacture of food is condensed into three complex sentences. But his smashing close-up photos tell a story worth following.

This copyrighted © review originally appeared in Kirkus Reviews and appears here with permission.

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