Review posted March 23, 2014.
Greenwillow Books, 2013. 40 pages.
Tap the Magic Tree is similar to the book Press Here, by Herve Tullet, in that it directly asks children to interact with the book. For example, it asks children to tap the book, and the picture changes on the next page. Later, they shake the book, and there is another change that corresponds to what they have done.
However, what makes this book even more innovative is that it goes through the cycle of seasons with a tree. So it’s a beautiful way to show children how trees change through the seasons, while giving them the fun of following directions and watching what happens.
It starts with a bare tree, only branches:
There’s magic in this bare brown tree.
Tap it once.
Turn the page to see.
When you turn the page, one leaf has sprouted on a branch.
Then you’re told,
Tap again –
Naturally, four more leaves sprout.
The progression follows the seasons. The reader taps all the leaves out, then rubs the tree to warm it up, so it gets buds. When you touch each bud, they blossom.
After the blossoms are out, the reader’s told to “Give the tree a little jiggle.”
Predictably, the petals fall to the ground.
The tree grows apples, which also eventually fall, and then the leaves start changing color. Then the reader gets to “blow a whooshing breeze,” and then “clap hands to bring the snow.”
After waiting, and watching a bird build a nest, we finish up with “Magic! It begins again.”
Because of the interactive element, young children will really remember how the seasons cycle in magic trees all around them.