Each week I review books we’ve read with Squirm. Find other reviews here
Tap The Magic Tree by Christie Matheson
There’s magic in this bare brown tree. Tap it once. Turn the page to see.
This magical book invites the reader to get involved, to tap and swish their way through the pages, as a tree moves from bare to full of leaves, flowers and fruit and back to bare again. It’s not a long, or a complicated story, but rather an interaction, a way of connecting movement to the (usually) rather still act of reading.
I’m going to address up front my one annoyance with the book. Right there in the front was a rather limited age recommendation – 4-8 years old. I disagree with this. I think a book which is so beautiful and which manages to be so clever and simple at the same time, appeals to a much wider range of people. The large and uncomplicated illustrations are as eye catching to a baby or toddler as they are to an adult. Similarly, it’s easy to be enchanted by the book’s commands to shake and tap and blow, no matter how old you are. Squirm (at 15 months) was utterly engaged with it, while Mr Pilot and I were both interested in what would happen next. Age recommendations are fine as a guideline, but I’m sure there’s many people who would feel limited by them and would pass over a wonderful book like this because their children didn’t meet the right age.
I’d be very sad if people did pass over this one, because it was a very lovely read. It gently moved us from one stage of the tree to the next, relying on visual literacy as well as the short commands. Squirm was too young (and in the bath, so too wet) to do the taping and brushing himself, but he loved watching me do it (especially the counting to ten and blowing the kiss) and I’m sure if we read it together a few times, he’d soon join in. I think this book would work beautifully with groups of children too – it would be fantastic for learning about trees and seasons, and I can just imagine groups of children with their hands in the air getting involved with the book.
We’re definitely going to buy this one for ourselves (we were reading a library copy) and I’d definitely recommed getting a copy for yourself. (Also, I think it’s time to campaign for this to be a board book! It would be 100% perfect for that)
- The author has a great article about making storytime interactive here
- She recommends encouraging young readers to get their hands on books – here’s some of my ideas for achieving that if you have a mouthing baby like Squirm was