Trees are Best FACT is a lovely, educational and nicely interactive storybook app for iPad. This storybook a first-person account from the mouth of eight year old Oliver T. Baker, who is a great tree enthusiast. I think that it is super cute that this book is told from Oliver’s point-of-view and opens up to the mild rantings of this child, as he is in conflict with another student who does not share his interest in trees. The rest of this book includes the varied reasons why Oliver is so taken with trees, teaching children about the wonders of nature. The look of this app is quite nice and I love the many different colors, textures and styles used throughout these pages. The images themselves are wonderfully drawn and interesting to look at, and I enjoy that some photographs and other mediums are also included within the pages of this application.
The interactions are great as well and combine many styles, creating a multi-media experience as one page consists of picture frames hanging from a tree. I enjoy tapping these frames as they become brightly colored images of trees when tapped and one of these frames takes one to a page where the reader can draw his own tree, saving it within this frame as well. I love how another frame enlarges with a touch, revealing a video of the changing leaves in fall, a very nice moment in this multi media application. Some interesting uses of fonts are also found here, and I like the basic design of this book very much.
I really appreciate how a question mark at the top left of the page can be tapped to show hints involving the interactive hot spots, very helpful in uncovering interactions that may go unnoticed without these clues. I am always happy to see some kind of help offered during interactive experiences, and I am glad that this is offered within this app.
It is also very nice that one page is dedicated to the area of tree climbing, with lots of tidbits to read and enjoy by oneself - a fun inclusion that I used when my son asked if he could climb the trees in our yard, explaining to him why our trees are not ideal. There are also added bits of whimsy relating to the benefits of “spring shoes” in aiding one's climbing ability as well as the faint images reminiscent of architectural drawing used, which add some interesting details to these lovely illustrations. I also like the page dedicated to the “loads of cool things about trees” as this page gives some nice information about the changes that leaves go through during fall and winter as well as the different bark found on specific species of trees, explained nicely with simple interactions and included photographs.
It is darling how this book ends with Oliver acting as a tree in the school play - a really fun image that kids as well as parents will enjoy because a child playing the equivalent of a tree is certainly a universal experience.
My only note for this app is that I would like to be able to do these interactions indefinitely instead of once per page, like the blowing out of candles as the narrator explains how the age of a tree by counting its rings, without toggling back and forth between pages. Other examples exist as well, and making these interactions able to be performed more than once would add to an already fun and educational experience. Having said this, I recommend this book as it has great visual style, creative interactions with hints and fun, thoughtful content.