BOOK REVIEW: Secrets of the Apple Tree

I love nature books. We have lots of them in our house, and we check them out often from our library. And while there are many, many titles to choose from, sometimes one comes along that is in itself a visual treat.

Secrets of the Apple Tree: A Shine-a-Light Book (Tulsa, OK: Kane Miller/EDC Publishing, 2013, 36 pp), by Carron Brown and illustrated by Alyssa Nassner, is a fun read and activity book for preschool and young elementary age kids that shows the not-always-seen animal habitats around a large apple tree. The setting could be, however, in one’s backyard or neighborhood park, for the animals depicted are all familiar. Each page on the right shows some part of the apple tree, and the text on the left urges the reader to shine a light from behind the page to see what is really going on.

A summer apple tree all of a sudden loses its leaves to show bare branches in winter, while a songbird searches the ground below for a wormy treat.

A toad is hidden in a leaf pile, a perfect place for mushrooms to grow.

What could be growing on this dead branch while a butterfly flutters about? The reading experience would benefit by the child taking guesses as to what what they will see when they shine the light on the page. These fun and colorful illustrations represent just a few of the animals one will encounter in the book.

Reading Secrets of the Apple Tree with a child, using a light source to discover a world of life under what can be seen, just might translate into an explosion of curiosity and discover when out in nature. Even better, this would be a great book to take outside and read under a tree!


Kane Miller/EDC Publishing also published a fun little book showing the joys of camping. When You Are Camping, written and illustrated by Anne Lee, follows sisters Tilly and Hazel on a camping trip, where they get muddy in the rain, watch bugs in the tall grass, float in the river, and go for a walk in the woods. It’s a simple story with a simple message: camping is an enjoyable experience!

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