Secret life under, in and around an apple tree can be revealed when light shines through the pages of this interactive, flawed book.
“Many animals live around the tree. Can you see who the bird is about to grab?” The author suggests that readers use a flashlight or hold the page up to a light to discern what might occupy the plain green area in the middle of the page. Luckily, if this proves awkward, or the right-sized light isn’t available, the answers to the questions posed on each colorful right-hand page are revealed in the black-and-white silhouettes on the next page (in this case, earthworms). The bird takes one of the earthworms to her chicks in a leaf-covered nest. A toad hides in the leaves, a lizard shelters under stones, and a moth is camouflaged on the trunk. In one unfortunate page turn, a paper-wasp nest is inaccurately revealed to be a honeybee hive; compounding the problem, the bees are called bumblebees. (Bumblebees are shaped differently and normally nest on or under the ground.) A paragraph of further information about each animal described is provided at the end. These generalizations leave readers with facts to be unlearned later: Though butterflies fold their wings to hide their bright colors, moths do not; birds that nest in trees often eat seeds as well as the enumerated slugs, snails, insects and fruits.
Very young book lovers might be intrigued by the peekaboo game but will be better served by a more accurate representation of the natural world. (Picture book. 4-7)