This companion to Matheson’s two previous titles featuring interactivity (Tap the Magic Tree, 2013; Touch the Brightest Star, 2015) encourages listeners to tap, press, and swipe their way through gardening.
In addition to exerting agency over the planting and nurturing of seeds, children are invited to count and look for a ladybug. The directions (which are very similar to previous books) are presented in uninspired rhymes: “Wiggle your fingers / to add some water. // That’s enough. / Next, rub the sun to make it hotter.” The narrative unfolds on white pages with a low horizon line created where the soil ends; this brown border fills half an inch or so at the bottom of each page. The red insect, small seeds, and a pale-blue watering spout are gradually added, and isolated natural elements make brief cameos. Presumably the low-key design is meant to contrast with the concluding collage depicting three zinnias, several bees and butterflies, and a hummingbird, but viewers will likely get restless without more-exciting results rewarding their efforts along the way. Whereas pages of different colors and a tree that filled each composition, changing with the seasons, provided visual interest in Tap the Magic Tree, these scenes feel empty for too long.
Preschoolers need to learn how plants grow. This supplies the basics, but novelty (an arguably waning term for app imitators on paper) is not a substitute for compelling art. (notes) (Picture book. 2-5)