Tuesday, September 27, 2011

App Review: Trees Are Best FACT

We have not come across too many nonfiction picture books in the App Store. So when we stumbled upon Trees Are Best FACT, we were excited.

Created by Hedgehog Lab, Trees Are Best is a celebration of all things tree. Told from the perspective of an 8-year-old boy whose friend says "diggers" are best, it is an exploration of what our barky friends can do, from giving us air to breathe to telling us their age in concentric rings.

The interactive components are engaging, beginning on the title page where readers have to shake the iPad to clear a pile of leaves and reveal the text. From dragging on branches to make a tree grow to using a tiny magnifying glass to examine a teensy tree, the whistles and bells on Trees Are Best will keep readers' interest.

There is even an art pad to let young fingers draw their own trees and share them with friends via email. The images can be posted to Facebook pages as well, though the audience for this app is a bit too young to have a Facebook account. But posting on Mom or Dad's page might be the modern equivalent of hanging artwork on the refrigerator.

The narration is solid and sound effects entertaining, though my grownup eyes found the type a bit too small here and there. The visual appeal of Trees Are Best is tremendous -- from collage to video to illustration, with humorous touches here and there that are sure to amuse.

A "coming soon" notice from Hedgehog promises a build-your-own treehouse tool and a tree-spotter's guide, among other upgrades. We look forward to seeing those additions to this lovely, original app. $0.99 for iPad, in English and German

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