Tap the Magic Tree

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There is magic in every ...

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There is magic in every tree.
The tall, silent one in the woods.
The small, bumpy one in the park.
Even the bare brown tree in your backyard.

As the seasons change, trees change, too.
They sprout leaves. The leaves change color.
Sometimes flowers bloom. Sometimes apples grow.
Trees shelter birds and feed squirrels and bees.

There is magic in every tree.
And in this book, you become the magician.
Tap, clap, wiggle, jiggle,
and then . . .
turn the page.

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  • Tap the Magic Tree
    Tap the Magic Tree  

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Sarah Harrison Smith
Like Hervé Tullet's charming 2011 book, Press Here, Matheson's Tap the Magic Tree proves you don't need apps for interactivity.
Publishers Weekly
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.)
New York Times
“Proves you don’t need apps for interactivity. [A] child makes the seasons change by following Matheson’s instructions; each turned page shows the result. You can imagine this book wearing out after repeated tapping, swishing, counting and shaking, but you won’t ever have to recharge its battery.”
“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.”
Children's Literature - Jean Boreen
This is a deceptively simple book in terms of its illustrations and texts, but it conveys a creative and charming message perfect for its young readers. The base illustration throughout the book is of a tree in winter, before it has begun to leaf for the season. Short text directions like “Tap it once. Turn the page to see,” tell younger readers exactly what to do page by page; as each page is turned, the reader gets a surprise. The surprises match the passing of seasons, and the author/illustrator uses simple illustrations within a collage format to show this progression. I especially loved the actions the young reader has to take as she is either reading the book herself or reading it with another that are sure to delight the youngster: finger wiggling, knocking on the trunk of the tree, and blowing a breeze to create a change that will show up on the next page are just a few of the fun activities children as asked to do as they are reading this book. I completely enjoyed interacting with this book, which is sure to be a hit. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.; Ages 4 to 8.
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, NC
Kirkus Reviews
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062274458
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 44,030
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Christie Matheson is the author and illustrator of the acclaimed Tap the Magic Tree. She stargazes and lives with her family in San Francisco and New England.

Christie Matheson is the author and illustrator of the acclaimed Tap the Magic Tree. She stargazes and lives with her family in San Francisco and New England.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 28, 2014

    My 3 year old daughter loves this book. She loves to make the tr

    My 3 year old daughter loves this book. She loves to make the tree bloom, ect every time! Very interactive and fun for her! 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2013

    My 3 year old son adores this book. He asks me to read it to hi

    My 3 year old son adores this book. He asks me to read it to him every night. He loves to interact with it and it also gives us opportunities to practice counting.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 18, 2013

    Awesome Book!

    I purchased this book for my classroom. The children loved the interactive part of the book. Every adult I have handed the book to has also done what the pages say ie, tap the tree.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 11, 2013

    So you can buy an interactive book that doesn't plug in

    What a great book. Great colors and illustrations, fun text. I can't wait till my grandchild is old enough for this story

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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