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The Apple and the Arrow

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  1,877 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
The year is 1291, and Walter is the twelve-year-old son of William Tell, the greatest bowman in the land of Uri. Walter lives happily in the remote heights of the Alpine Mountains, caring for his family's goat herd and practicing his marksmanship in the hopes of making his father proud. But as the end of the year approaches, Walter's peaceful life is shaken as his country ...more
Unknown Binding, 80 pages
Published January 1st 1951 by Scholastic
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 10, 2009 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just read this book to some of my kids (ages 8-12) and we all loved it. I have been meaning to read this to them for years and just never did. I think this book has some great messages about faith, courage, family, and freedom. It also got us interested in learning more about Switzerland. The kids were engaged and begged me to keep reading. You can easily read this aloud in one or two sittings.
Jan 20, 2009 Deanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We really enjoyed this true story of the independence of Switzerland. We liked how it pointed out the difference one man can make to change the course of events in his own world. Freedom requires courage and this story displays the courage of a family to gain independence from tyranny. There are lots of good attributes represented in this book.
Joan Innes
This book had a lot of appeal maybe because of the strong antagonist/protagonist theme. Will the people ever rise above the cruel overlord, Gessler, that has the people working for him to increase his greatness through buildings on his land? Switzerland is in a revolution against its Austrian rulers. Little Rudi and his younger brother Prinz live in a Swiss village in 1291, and courageous Rudi is the main character of this book. The book is rich in description of the surroundings of this mountai ...more
Nov 22, 2010 Amber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school, sy10-11
"He knew what wise men have always known, that man lives by faith, and that faith can be stronger than fear..." This was so much more than a story about William Tell. In five short chapters we learned and lived the history of the founding of Switzerland. A wonderful and touching book.
I loved the legend more than the book. This Newberry honor book of only eighty pages was offered time and again in the Scholastic book orders for fifty cents or a dollar. I purchased them for my classroom, but truthfully rarely saw anyone take interest. It's not a great read aloud, but is an okay offering in early reader historical fiction.
Sep 07, 2011 Josiah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
At just eighty pages in length and plentifully decorated with full-page illustrations, The Apple and the Arrow certainly is one of the shorter books to have ever been designated a Newbery Honoree by the ALA committee. It's brevity doesn't prevent it from being a very good book, though, filled with splashes of excitement and conspiratorial intrigue in the retelling of an old legend about a brave people who fought back against despotism to earn freedom for themselves and their children. The actio ...more
“He knew what the wise have always know, that man lives by faith, and that faith can be stronger than fear.”

“Today it does not matter whether the story of William Tell really happened or is a legend handed down. For the story of a brave man’s revolt against tyranny is always true—as true for us now as it was for those in the far-off days of The Apple and the Arrow.

Great story of courage and standing up for freedom and doing what is right.
Laura Verret
I’ve wanted this book forever and a half. :)

The Story.

William Tell is the best bowman in the whole canton of Uri. And Walter Tell wants to be just like his father – bold and talented, courageous and indefatigable in the pursuit of justice.

But William’s resolve in the face of tyranny has earned him the hatred of Gessler at Altdorf. It is this hatred and this bravery that clash one day and culminate in an archery contest that involves one son and one apple…


I love children’s stories tha
Jul 06, 2012 Jim rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery-honor
spoiler of sorts.
the final paragraph says that it doesn't matter if the story is true or not. then why write the thing as a true story? is this on the level of king arthur or washington throwing a coin across the delaware? wish either the final paragraph wasn't in the book or else there were an author's note about the facts of the story.
Sep 22, 2012 Kat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: core-a
This is scheduled in SL A (old K) during the first half of the year. While this is a great book, I think it is too early in the year to read it. Three times through and each time I've decided to pull it and add it back in at the end of the year. (You'd think I would have learned by now.) Each time they would glaze over when we tried it with the schedule, but later on they were truly into the story and loved it. I enjoyed reading it to them much more then too. Much better suited for a slightly mo ...more
Sep 28, 2012 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery-honor
Confession: I didn't think I was going to like this book because it looks like the type of book I wouldn't enjoy, from the time period of Newbery Honor winners that I haven't particularly enjoyed. I know I know, not fair. And it turns out I did enjoy it. I was wrong. And now I know a little more about how Switzerland came to be, and who the William Tell Overture is written about. I could see a child in fourth or fifth grade enjoying this book, especially as it is told from the perspective of a c ...more
Jan 20, 2013 Tarissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the exciting story of Walter, son of William Tell.
Set in the early 1200's of Switzerland, young Walter has to face danger in the eye. The title of the book centers on the fact that the boy must trust his father to shoot an arrow at an apple that rests on Walter's head.

It is a very interesting story, and I like the writing style very much.

Bring your courage with you as you read Walter's story...
Wayne S.
Apr 28, 2013 Wayne S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is the year 1290 and eleven-soon-to-be-twelve-year-old Walter Tell lives happily in the remote heights of the Swiss Alpine Mountains near the village of Burglen with his father William, who is known as the greatest bowman in the canton of Uri and perhaps even in the nearby cantons of Schwys and Underwalden, his mother Hedwig, his little brother Rudi, and their herd dog Prinz. Nearby also live their friend Marie the herd girl, Brother Klaus the monk, and Grandfather Furst. King Albrecht is the ...more
Feb 20, 2014 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a short little book about the legend of William Tell. I loved it. It has such a good message about standing up for what you believe in and the strength you get from family. It is especially interesting to me because my grandfather came from Switzerland and it is the story of how Switzerland gained independence. It was a great little history lesson too. I could recommend this book to children who are good readers. Some of the language is old-fashioned, but the story is very simply told.
Jaime Contreras
I read this for myself and attempted to read it to my eldest daughter. Sadly, she was not interested. I read it to know the tale of the legendary William Tell. It was fun and I learned more about honor and love of country and family. I also love the overture of the William Tell operetta because it is also the theme of The Lone Ranger.
Mar 20, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very sweet version of the William Tell legend and the rebellion that led to Switzerland becoming a nation. The story is told from the point of view of William Tell's oldest son, so it made the story easier for my kids to attach to the characters. My kids (8 and 6) loved this short, but fabulous book.
Sep 17, 2014 Leto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is about a man with a crossbow named William Tell. He has two sons. One son is namd Walter. The other son is Rudi. Their mother is named Headwig. They are all a herds family. They collect milk from their goats. William Tell hunts for chamios and deer.

I did not like that there was a murder in this book. I liked that Rudi and Walter had a grandfather who had cider at Bear Inn.

[review by a 7 year old, typed by his mother]
Carrie Daws
This is a delightful telling of the legend of William Tell and the beginning of Switzerland. The author does a great job of keeping the nastier parts of Gessler clean while still conveying enough of his character that he becomes a most unlikeable character. The young Walter Tell is crafted so that it is easy to cheer him on and hope for the best, and the actions of William Tell are explained adequately for the young reader to understand.
Ryan Fenn
Oct 07, 2014 Ryan Fenn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Apple and the Arrow is the story of a young boy, who's father is a hero to the country of Switzerland. He is a man who stands up for what is right and for what he believes in. It is a kind of story that you would think typical of a historical fiction tale. His father is a mighty man who does what's right no matter the cost. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the story and would recommend it to anyone looking for a great historical fiction story.
Kayleena Nielson
Oct 07, 2014 Kayleena Nielson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book because it portrayed a family that was normal and had values. Walter trusted in his father with the biggest faith and trust I have ever seen or heard of. I also like how the son is so obedient and he looks up to his father a ton. He also is told to look after his brother and tries his best at that. I love how it ends happily and things all work out. The father is super smart in what he does and is blunt and brave. I recommend hitting balloons with darts for a fun activity for s ...more
The story contained within the pages of this book was a great story--good morals, evil failing, bravery. But. But. I really didn't like it. It bored me to tears. I was so glad that there was only 80 pages. It was interesting to see the backstory, and how it all played out. Part of the reason that this book might have been so hard for me was that the protagonist bothered me. Maybe seeing from the eyes of a young boy just didn't sit well with me. The overall story was interesting and good but I ju ...more
Rachel Anne  Boody
This story tells of a family with two young and adventurous boys and their parents in the land of Uri. Walter and his father visit the land of Altdorf and Hedwig's father. William gets in trouble with the guards because he does not bow to the hat of Australia. The situation escalates and soon Gessler comes into the picture and tells William to shoot an arrow at an apple atop of his son, Walter's head. If he misses, they will both be killed and if he succeeds, they will be set free. Miraculously, ...more
Jan 28, 2015 Merinda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this! Mary Buff writes this in such a way that you're just cheering for the heroes to win! My favorite part was the ending. This is a beautiful story about standing up for what you believe in even when it's hard, and this was a big part of the lesson she includes at the end. She explains that even if this story is completely fictional, it's one that has weight in our lives today because there are always battles we encounter where we have to stand up, where we have to support the freedoms ...more
The Apple And The Arrow was a book that I really was good. In the begging Walter was shooting arrows and his father came back late at night and told him the he would take him to Aldouf. In the middle Walter asked his father to tell the story of when he was younger and how he ran away form the solders. At the end Walter and his brother went to a fire late at night and Walter had to carry his brother home and they all fell asleep.

I really liked this book and it was easy to read and I recommend thi
Sep 29, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-challenges
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christina Packard
Finally now understand the story of William Tell.
Dec 25, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum
Winsomely-told story of the legendary William Tell and how, by bravely escaping and killing the local governor Gessler, he helped the original three cantons of Switzerland (Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden) unite and win independence from the tyrannical rule of the Austrian House of Hapsburg in 1291.
Sep 10, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom
Reading for CC2 during the Medieval Period. Jacob picked out this book to read. We read it over 3 years ago but Ellie was too young to remember..krb 9/7/16

Both kids liked this book. Wonderful book that shows how Switzerland began, fighting against tyranny, and the love of God..krb 9/10/16
Oct 25, 2016 Carrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We read this as part of CC cycle 2. M (age 8) really enjoyed it; I needed to explain and clarify many things for C (age 4.5). Great book for current cycle.
Oct 18, 2016 Solomon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book The Apple and the Arrow by Mary Buff tells the story of William and Walter Tell. Walter was the child of the best Bowman in Uri. William was the best bowman in Uri. Because of this he was tasked to shoot an apple off Walter's head. Overall, I thought the book was Suspenseful because of all the moments when you thought that Walter was going to die. My least favorite part of the book was the beginning, which was not very interesting.
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