"Do you see the tree I see? It's short and small, just like me," begins this sweet rhyming tale by Aridan Books. It is told in the first person by a little boy who befriends a tree and learns a heart-warming lesson in the process. Somewhat reminiscent of The Giving Tree, this short picture book shows a tree that provides shelter and sustenance to many creatures. It has an expressive face and 'arms like you and me' (roots), all personified beautifully with animation.
At first it's just the boy who rests on its trunk, but soon many animal friends join the tree, who was once sad and lonely. A squirrel seeks nuts, several birds a nesting place, and more in this title that is as fun to play with as it is to read. Text is in a small box that can be hidden or enlarged and the font is easy to read. It highlights as read by a sweet child narrator (not word-for-word but in short phrases). Page turn is by cute 'leaf' shaped arrows at the bottom of the page, although it is a tiny bit slow.
Interactivity enhances the storyline most of the time, too, without sacrificing any of the fun of tapping and exploring each page. Effects rarely interfere with each other and the sound can be customized in the app's ample settings. The graphics are lovingly detailed, too, including a cute cloud that rains when tapped, blinks, smiles and even wears a nightcap (and yawns) in the evening scene. It may be a bit too interactive for bedtime reading depending on the child, but the theme is certainly just right for night-time.
There are also lots of fun touches, like the fireflies (and bee) that follow your finger on the screen, a sun that you can raise into the sky and the most adorable 'sleeping animal' scene I've ever come across. There are also a couple simple puzzles where the young reader taps the birds' nest or beehive to trigger a 2nd scene. The app is solidly made with great production values overall.
The developer is also donating 100% of the proceeds to Autism Speaks this month. It's hard to go wrong with an app this solid; it even has beautiful and original music throughout. Young children will learn about friendship and sharing while reading or listening to this meaningful story in a polished package. Recommended!
Note to readers: This review was expedited by the developer for a fee. The review's content is the same, but timing of publication has been prioritized.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Robert J. Mascarelli/Frank Grau
Aridan Books, Inc.
8 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 2 - 8
Up on a hill, all by itself, a tree sits sadly until one day a little boy arrives. The boy befriends the tree and sits on its trunk. Soon animals arrive too. A skunk comes to climb, birds find a nesting spot, a squirrel wants to gather nuts and a bee seeks a vantage point to see more flowers. The tree gives of himself to all his new friends and is rewarded ... when evening arrives, everyone has stayed, sleeping snugly. Now the tree is no longer lonely. When the sun comes up, the tree is happy. The boy reflects, "Sharing with friends is the lesson, you see, even for a tree or a small child like me."
This app does not yet have a written review. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how we rated this app in 9 categories.
Are you interested in becoming a guest reviewer for Digital-Storytime? Contact us …