Pines to Vines - The Forest Biome

Common Sense Media says

Amazing digital textbook brings forests to kids' fingertips.






What parents need to know

Ease of play

Navigation is easy, and a detailed manual explains the layout and features of the app. Some features such as highlighting and note-taking require some practice. 

Violence & scariness

Kids can see pictures of forest fires in the chapter about threats to forests. 

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

The Teacher Resources section has a link to the developer's website, where other products are marketed. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The app's privacy policy states that the developer collects no information from users and any information entered is contained within the app. Users must create an account on the developer's website to access downloadable teaching resources. Tests can be emailed directly from the app. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Pines to Vines - The Forest Biome is a comprehensive, interactive textbook designed to help kids learn about forest biomes. Six chapters cover topics in great detail, and kids can tap keywords to see supporting images and definitions throughout the chapters. Some images include fun facts that kids can tap on and open. There are numerous options to support learning, including text to speech, highlighting, and note-taking. Kids can choose from five reading levels that range from first through eighth grades, change text size, have the text read aloud, and record their own voices while reading vocabulary terms.

What kids can learn



  • animals
  • biology
  • ecosystems
  • plants


Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • asking questions
  • memorization

Engagement, Approach, Support


Lots of interactive elements and a fun, kid-friendly writing style keep kids engaged.

Learning Approach

Chapter and customizable tests assess learning, but kids can't immediately see feedback. Comprehension questions, highlighting and note-taking features, and an interactive glossary help kids study and retain what they learn. 


An incredibly detailed manual within the app helps users get started and learn about all the features and options. The developer's website has tutorial videos, FAQs, and downloadable teacher resources.

What kids can learn



  • animals
  • biology
  • ecosystems
  • plants


Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • asking questions
  • memorization

Kids can learn about a wide range of topics including forest layers, locations and climates of forest biomes, plant and animal adaptations, benefits of forests, and threats to forests. Kids learn about several forest types: tropical, subtropical, temperate, boreal/taiga, riverine, mangrove, cloud, and Mediterranean. Kids can use the interactive glossary to build vocabulary and improve speech and language skills. The price tag is a bit high, but, if you want a comprehensive resource to teach kids about forest biomes, this digital text delivers.

This Learning Rating review was written by Debbie Gorrell

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What's it about?

Home page options include Read, Map, Media, and Tests. In Read, kids are taken to the reading pane, where text appears on the left side of the screen. After creating a digital bookmark that tracks reading progress, kids swipe to read text. As various keywords pass through an arrow in the middle of the reading pane, supporting media appear on the right. Kids can tap green keywords to trigger the visual support and purple keywords to see and hear word definitions. Kids also can highlight text and create notes as they read. In the Map feature, kids can rotate a globe to see the locations of different forest biomes and tap on icons to learn more. In the Media feature, kids can tap to view the media that appears within the chapters, including photos and videos. Kids also can tap to use the interactive glossary, read the app manual, create notes, and view teacher resources. In the Tests feature, kids can access chapter tests, create custom tests, and choose a reading level for each test. When finished, kids can email their tests directly to the address entered on the app as "Teacher Email."

Is it any good?


PINES TO VINES – THE FOREST BIOME is an incredibly thorough digital textbook that supports a wide variety of learning styles and abilities. Features such as text highlighting, text to speech, note-taking, chapter tests, and interactive media create an engaging, well-rounded learning experience. Kids will enjoy scrolling through the text, tapping on words and images, watching the videos, and recording their voices within the glossary.

Some of the cartoon videos are a bit unusual and do not add much to the science content, but this certainly does not take away from the multitude and depth of the other videos and digital resources offered. An interactive map of forest biomes, a photo gallery, chapter tests, a glossary, a handful of videos, and a Dropbox sync option make Pines to Vines worth the hefty price tag for kids who want to learn about forests. Because there are so many learning options and features, parents may want to offer some guidance to get kids started.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Pines to Vines compares to a more traditional textbook. What are some pros and cons of each experience?

  • Read together, and encourage kids to take notes about concepts they find most interesting.

  • Users may benefit from spending some time reviewing the manual (accessible within the app) and practicing some of the features such as highlighting and note-taking before fully diving into the content. 

App details

Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:October 26, 2013
Size:378.00 MB
Publisher:Mobile Education Store LLC
Minimum software requirements:iOS 6.1 or later

This review of Pines to Vines - The Forest Biome was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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