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Tap the Magic Tree Hardcover – August 27, 2013
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From School Library Journal
PreS-K–The conceit of this clever picture book is that the changing seasons occur as if by magic. Readers are shown a bare brown tree and are implored to, “Tap it once. Turn the page to see.” As they do, green leaves appear. Next, they are told to “Rub the tree to make it warm.” That results in pale pink buds, which then form beautiful blossoms and a jiggle makes them fall to the ground. Darker leaves mingle with robust red apples, and then leaves turn color, drift away, and snow falls all around. Finally, the tree finds a new purpose as a home for a baby bird. Each change receives its own spread, and a page turn reveals another alteration to the tree's appearance. A few words on each spread keep the emphasis on readers' perceived control over the climate; a call to participation encourages audience involvement. “Pat the leaves–be gentle, please. Aha! Now blow a whooshing breeze.” Spare backgrounds maintain the focus on the tree; its thick, supportive trunk remains the solid recurring note in each stark scene. Textured collages add immediacy to each spread. A natural rhythm is maintained through rolling rhymes. The subtle shifts of the seasons capture a tree that is simply a treasure to behold.–Meg Smith, Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, NCα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
“There’s magic in this bare brown tree. Tap it once. Turn the page to see.” Tapping the page, and rubbing and touching starts the fun of watching a bare tree sprout one leaf, then many, then buds, flowers, and finally apples. After jiggling, wiggling, and swishing the pages, the flower petals fall and apples appear; shaking the book causes the apples to drop with a “Plop! Plop! Plop!” Whooshing makes the leaves cascade, and clapping causes snowflakes to flutter down. The tree is bare and brown again, but “Be patient . . . Close your eyes and count to ten,” and the mystery begins again with two bluebirds building their nest in the spring. When each season changes, a full page of color introduces it—green flows to pink to red to orange to wintery blue and white. Although simple in presentation with ample white space, the artwork provides a glorious rendition of the four seasons of a tree. No iPad is needed to make this interactive book totally satisfying. Pair with Lizi Boyd’s Inside Outside (2013), another seasonal interactive title. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Lolly Gepson
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The book opens with an illustration of a stark tree. “There’s magic in this bare brown tree. Tap it once. Turn the page to see.” Turn the page and a single, bright green leaf hangs off one of the tree’s branches. This gentle book continues to ask its readers to perform several actions: rub, touch, jiggle, wiggle, brush and “blow the tree a tiny kiss.” With each action and page turn comes some magic – the tree forms buds and blooms flowers, the apples grow and plop down, the leaves turn colors, and the snow falls on the once-again bare tree.
On the second-to-last page, a bird’s nest containing a single blue egg is nestled in the bare tree’s branches, a preview that spring is coming once again. “Close your eyes and count to ten,” the book requests. On the final page the sweet baby bird has hatched and two bright green leaves have grown: “Magic! It begins again.”
This book was a godsend during New England’s more-bitter-than-usual 2013-2014 winter. My children would ask me to read it again and again, as there is something soothing – and magical – about its simplicity. This is equally true of the simple act of cuddling up with your children to read, which can serve as a magical balm for the winter blues.
Addendum: Read it in the spring and they loved it! Will read it again this week as we begin our study of apple trees. Great book!!!