Secrets of the Apple Tree: A Shine-a-Light Book

This is a beautifully produced picturebook that shows the growth and life surrounding an apple tree. What sets this title apart from others is the 'shine-a-light' aspect, which helps show the hidden side of life in and around the tree not usually visible to the human eye. The colour pages have a see-through part that is revealed from shining a light behind it, or holding it up to the light. But the experience has an added layer from the black and white pages on the opposite side of the colour ones. The pictures discerned only through the light are starkly portrayed on the other side, along with an explanation of the hidden lives of plants, insects, and animals.

While the narrative is a step-by-step guide to the plants, animals, and insects associated with the apple tree, things come around full circle by showing the apple seeds take root themselves and eventually become trees and the centrepiece of many different lives. There is also an index at the end, giving further information. The 'shine-a-light' aspect will no doubt fascinate children, but it's a gimmick that gently informs them about nature and wildlife.