Every evening I settle down with my children and they beg for a new story on my iPad. While less expensive than buying new books continuously, buying stories on the iPad does run the risk that you may not really care for the content you end up with. There are a dizzying amount of children's stories available in the app store and, unless you opt for famous characters (i.e., Dr. Suess, Disney characters), you may end up with a story where the little girl dies in the end. Seriously, my daughters were pretty upset, and I was more than a little annoyed. There is a surprising void in the storybook app world of high quality stories that have any kind of moral value. Okay, maybe not that surprising actually. Enter Cherry Tree.
You may have heard of them previously, unless you were hiding under a rock, as they exploded on the children's book/app scene after CPAC. See here, here, here and here! Apparently I was not the only one looking for quality stories to share with my kids. The Cherry Tree app hit number 3 in the App Store the first week it was released. There are four story lines to choose from within the free app and multiple stories for each series. Tex the T. Rex was born in a red, white and blue egg on the Fourth of July. He learns, with your child, about American history. Special Hops are a group of rabbits that teach children about heroes, like our soldiers. My son and I favor those stories. They teach children that our soldiers are not scary and are actually here to protect us; a great find for anyone that appreciates the hard work of our military. Our Town, USA is another storyline that teaches children about life skills; like the fact that money doesn't actually grow on trees and hard work can earn you the things you want. If there was a paperback version of that book, I'd seriously consider dropping off a few at my local Occupy nursery. Finally, Cherry Tree has a series called The Eagles which is about a family of eagles with a sister and brother who learn that they have roles to play in the family too, beyond playing video games. Our daughters enjoy these stories and have been looking forward to a camping trip (as seen in one story) which should happen if we can get Daddy to put down the video games...
Until such time, however, we have been thoroughly enjoying reading about all the different characters Cherry Tree offers. It's been great having help teaching my children concepts that were once basic but aren't near as prevalent as they should be now. The app is also easy to navigate, so I've found my kids swiping through stories on their own. Despite the difference in their ages (six, five and two), all of my children enjoy the stories. It's been nice to hear that my six year old recognizes places like Mt. Rushmore; in typical kid fashion, she doesn't exactly come home and tell me what she learned at school. For us, it's been too long since the stories were released. My children read them unendingly for weeks. So I was happy to hear that today Cherry Tree released their first book in a new storyline and will be releasing more books all summer! The timing is actually better, despite my impatience, as any parent knows kids need a lot to keep them busy through the summer. Tonight we'll be enjoying a fuss-free story time since I already know we'll be reading the book that came out today, "Young Patriots: America Counts." Personally, I'll be counting the blessings that there is one less thing I have to worry about when it comes to my kids; which gives me more time to dedicate to saving the country that Cherry Tree so lovingly illustrates to them.
You can check out their website here for more information.
Other titles coming this summer:
"Special Hops and the Schoolhouse Flood" - available next week
"Young Patriots: Goodnight America" - a bedtime story book, available in early June
"Our Town: The Pledge of Allegiance" - teaches kids the pledge, available the week of 6/11 in time for Flag Day (6/14)
"Young Patriots: Potty in the USA" - which I've been looking forward to since I first heard of Cherry Tree, available near the end of June.
"Tex’s Birthday" - available at the end of June, in time for Fourth of July, Tex’s Birthday!
"Young Patriots: Oh Say, Can You ABC?" - available mid July.