Under Leaves | Touch and Go

Users will appreciate the clean design, understated beauty, and game-like features of this delightful app.

There are a number of apps that strike a meditative tone; Is it any coincidence that many of them feature the natural world? As our reviewer Caroline Molnar notes, this soothing game can also be used with youngsters learning their numbers. 

The luxurious, layered palette of colors and streamlined design of Under Leaves (Circus Atos, iOS, Android $1.99; PreS-Gr 2) aims to impress. This text-free,  seek-and-find game takes players through a series of gorgeously serene and undisturbed ecosystems as they help find food for animals nestled in the dense layers of leaves and shadows on land and in the ocean. In one level, a platypus awash in reds, oranges, and yellows lounges along a beach. Flowers bloom and birds call while the soft crash of waves echoes in the background.

Despite its repetitive nature, the calming aura of the app makes it incredibly easy to keep playing. Children simply uncover 10 hidden pictures in each scene to move to the next level. Each new environment has a familiar feel with a new sense of purpose and discovery. A zoom feature allows a closer look for details that are easily overlooked and cleverly concealed.

The slight sway of the background foliage adds to the quiet calm of the app. Upon completion of a level, subtle celebrations of success are visible: a flower blooming or fireflies suddenly aglow. While not structured as an educational app might be, opportunities abound to use the app with young children to practice counting and for simple addition or subtraction. Available in multiple languages. VERDICT Users will appreciate the clean design, understated beauty, and game-like features of Under Leaves.—Caroline Molnar, Worthington City Schools,  OH

For additional app reviews, visit School Library Journal's dedicated app web page.

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