This book was a pleasant surprise for us. It definitely has a message, but it doesn't beat you over the head with it. Mac, the apple, wakes up one morning with a worm stuck in his head. Turns out the worm is named Will and he's super fun, and Will and Mac have a good old time playing games and finishing each other's sentences. All is well until they run into some of Mac's buddies on the playground. The other apples start making fun of Mac and calling him a "bad apple." Will takes off without Mac telling him to go away, which could be either an interesting touch or a missed opportunity for Mac to experience some conflict and resolution. But Mac soon discovers that Will left behind a hole that can't be filled (get it?) and goes in search of his friend. He'd rather be a bad apple with his buddy than a sad apple without him.
Again, the message is clear, but not annoying. The pictures are great too. I loved the expressions on the faces of Will and Mac, and the overall tone of the illustrations helps keep the book from being cheesy. Of course there are lots of little apple jokes included to keep the parents interested. I asked the Buddy if she learned anything from this book. She said "if your friend gets lost, you need to go find them." That is probably not exactly what Mr. Hemingway was going for, but I'll take it.