Secrets of the Apple Tree
written by Carron Brown; illustrated by Alyssa Nassner
2013 (Kane Miller)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
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If you want to know the secrets of the apple tree, you'll need a flashlight or a lamp. In this inventive book about the apple tree, hidden pictures are included behind the illustrations. Placing a light source behind the page, you can see the hidden picture. The first picture is a full apple tree with the question "Can you see what it looks like in winter?" Flash a light behind and you see a bare branched tree with birds. The following page talks about animals living around the tree. A bird's head is perched barely above the ground. The question for this page is "Can you see who the bird is about to grab?". The light will reveal wriggling worms working to loosen soil. On the back side of each illustration is an explanation of the answer to the previous question. All aspects of life in and around the tree are explored. What's under the leaves? Be careful because you might disturb a frog. See a tail poking out of a rock? You'll find a lizard looking for insects and other food sources. A great exercise to do with children before reading this book would be to list all of the animals you think might live in or around the tree. A circle map would be a good format for doing this. Another skill that you could work on with Secrets of the Apple Tree is teaching main idea. Read the whole book and ask students to think about the big idea of how this tree is valuable to so many living creatures.
This is the book that you want your child to take to bed so they can read with a flashlight. There is plenty of information for preschool and K-1 readers to digest. The back matter has more facts about the animals you find around an apple tree and how they use the tree for food, a habitat, or safety. Young readers will be intrigued and delighted by the secrets that will be revealed by the light.