Reviews for Tap the Magic Tree

Booklist Reviews 2013 October #2
"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. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
The book begins with a "bare brown tree." In order to see the tree's "magic," the text instructs readers to "tap it once"; with a page turn the tree now has one green leaf. As the book goes on, children can rub the tree, tap new pink buds, etc. The story has a satisfying arc that encourages close observation of nature.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2014 #1
The book begins with a "bare brown tree," its outstretched branches and twisting trunk shown against a crisp white page. In order to see the tree's "magic," the text instructs readers or listeners to "tap it once"; and with a page turn the tree now has one bright green leaf. Four more taps and another page turn result in four more green leaves. As the book goes on, children can rub the tree, tap new pink buds, and even blow the tree a kiss; the pink buds turn to blossoms, darker green leaves appear, apples grow. The story moves through the seasons, urging patience in wintertime when the bare branches are covered in pale blue snow. Finally it is back to spring, concluding with the appearance of a birds' nest and some bright new leaves: "It begins again." Perhaps inspired by the very popular Press Here (rev. 7/11), this is winsome in its own right and stylishly designed. The story has a satisfying arc that encourages children to closely observe the seemingly magical way real trees change throughout the year. susan dove lempk Copyright 2013 Horn Book Magazine.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 June #2
Matheson invites readers to take an apple tree through a seasonal round using taps and page turns in place of touch-screens. "There's magic in this bare brown tree. / Tap it once. / Turn the page to see." Making the resemblance to a tablet app even more apparent, the tissue-collage leaves, flowers and fruits that grow, mature and fall in succession on the scaffolding of branches "appear" following cued shakes, pats, blown breaths, claps and gestures as well as simple taps. The tree, suspended in white space on each spread, is all there is to see (until a pair of nesting bluebirds fly in at the end)--so that even very young children will easily follow its changes through spring, summer and winter dormancy to a fresh spring. Like the print version of Hervé Tullet's Press Here (2011), from which this plainly takes its inspiration, the illusion of interactivity exercises a reader's imagination in ways that digital media do not. Still, the overall result is more an imitation of an app than a creative use of ink, paper and physical design. A universal theme, developed in an unusually clean, simple presentation…and, at least, with no need for batteries. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 July #1

Was Matheson inspired by Hervé Tullet's Press Here and its concept of analog interactivity? Or is this a case of convergent evolution? In any case, Tullet fans will recognize the sequence of commands that animates Matheson's creations in her first picture book. An unseen narrator asks readers to take an apple tree through the seasons by tapping, brushing, shaking, and clapping. The commands are in verse: "There's magic in this bare brown tree./ Tap it once. Turn the page to see." After following the directions to tap, a page turn reveals a new leaf ("Tap again--/ one, two, three, four"); another page turn reveals more leaves. The bare tree appears against a white background and is adorned with collaged elements in bright colors. Pink flowers appear and fall, apples grow and are harvested by knocking on the trunk, and clapping brings snow, which melts as spring arrives by waiting: "Close your eyes and count to ten." It's a good on-the-way-to-bed activity--calming, but still requiring a modicum of concentration and action. Ages 4-8. Agent: Stacey Glick, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 August

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, NC

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