Young Reader Review: The Apple Cake

We’re delighted to welcome Kirstie, aged 11, to the blog with a book review of a classic picture book from the Netherlands…

Book review by Kirstie

Title: The Apple Cake

Author: Nienke van Hichtum

Illustrator: Marjan van Zeyl

Translated from Dutch. Floris Books believes it was by one of their in-house translators.

Rating: 5/5


In The Apple Cake, an old woman goes on an adventure to find some apples to make an apple cake. She spreads joy everywhere she walks.

She starts off with a basket of plums and exchanges them with other people to help them with various problems.

The best part of the story is the moral: one good thing deserves another. But if you do something for someone, don’t always expect something in return. The gift you receive in return isn’t always an object, it could be a good conscience. A feeling that you have helped someone with their problems and made their day.

The old woman’s main motto is “better one person happy than two disappointed.”

At the back of the book is a recipe so you can make your own apple cake.

The pictures are gorgeous. They really represent what each character is feeling and they are beautifully colourful. All the pictures are of the countryside and you can always see for miles behind the main scene. There is so much detail.

Does the old woman get some apples in the end? Read the story to find out!

I recommend this story to people of all ages, from three to 62; the moral applies to everybody.


A new edition of The Apple Cake was published yesterday in the UK by Floris Books. The new edition is in a slightly larger format than before, with matt rather than gloss illustrations, and a slight change in position for the text on the front cover, but is otherwise unchanged from the edition that Floris Books first published in 1996. The previous version can be purchased here.

Nienke van Hichtum is the pseudonym of well-known Frisian Dutch children’s author Sjoukje Maria Diderika de Boer (1860–1939).

Marjan van Zeyl was born in Amsterdam and has illustrated several books for children, including Daisy the Hungry Duck and Hannah on the Farm (both also available from Floris Books).


Many thanks to Kirstie for her wonderful review.

If this review has inspired any young readers in your family or your classroom to write a review of a book translated into English from another language, do get in touch to propose book reviews.

Take a look at our downloadable book review templates and they, or you on their behalf, can send their review to us at