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Tap the magic tree
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Publishers Weekly Review
Was Matheson inspired by Herve 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Booklist Review
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.--Gepson, Lolly Copyright 2010 Booklist
Horn Book Review
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 lempke (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Review
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 Herv 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 presentationand, at least, with no need for batteries. (Picture book. 3-6)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The acclaimed interactive picture book about the changing seasons. "Like Hervé Tullet's Press Here, Matheson's Tap the Magic Tree proves you don't need apps for interactivity," praised the New York Times.

Every book needs you to turn the pages. But not every book needs you to tap it, shake it, jiggle it, or even blow it a kiss. Innovative and timeless, Tap the Magic Tree asks you to help one lonely tree change with the seasons. Now that's interactive--and magical!

It begins with a bare brown tree. But tap that tree, turn the page, and one bright green leaf has sprouted! Tap again--one, two, three, four--and four more leaves have grown on the next page. Pat, clap, wiggle, jiggle, and see blossoms bloom, apples grow, and the leaves swirl away with the autumn breeze. The collage-and-watercolor art evokes the bright simplicity of Lois Ehlert and Eric Carle and the interactive concept will delight fans of Pat the Bunny. Combining a playful spirit and a sense of wonder about nature, Christie Matheson has created a new modern classic that is a winner in every season--and every story time!

And don't miss the follow-up, Touch the Brightest Star!

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