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THE CHERRY TREE by Maja  Matern


by Maja Matern & illustrated by Annette Köhn & developed by Ridili

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 2011
Publisher: Ridili

A Japanese girl loves and cares for a special tree throughout her life.

Miyu’s parents give her a cherry tree on her third birthday. She and her father plant the sapling in their small garden, and Miyu tenderly cares for it. Come springtime, the tree blooms; by summer, she’s eating ripe cherries and swinging from a rope she has tied to its bough. In the fall, she builds a tree house in its branches (apparently Miyu is quite the arborist). One year, though, the tree fails to bloom, and after she tries a host of remedies, the tree tells her to check its roots. She finds a nest of voles and relocates them, and the tree eventually revives. The strength of this app lies in the sweet, Zen-like story and the soothing voice of the narrator (who sounds much like Mary Poppins). Illustrations feature bold colors and yet somehow remain suitably understated. Animation resembles what might be taught in a basic html course; it’s repetitive and jumpy, but reliable nonetheless. Interactive elements are kept to a minimum—a chatty kitty, cherry-picking, various sound effects. The only unpleasant thing about this app is Miyu’s badly faked crying when she realizes her tree is sick, but it’s a minor irritation in the grand scheme of things.

A low-tech offering with substantial charm and character. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)