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Eve of the Emperor Penguin (Magic Tree House #40) Paperback – December 8, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews
Book 40 of 54 in the Magic Tree House Series

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Tales for kids 6-8
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

MARY POPE OSBORNE is the author of the New York Times number one bestselling Magic Tree House series. She and her husband, writer Will Osborne (author of Magic Tree House: The Musical), live in northwestern Connecticut with their three dogs. Ms. Osborne is also the coauthor of the companion Magic Tree House Fact Trackers series with Will, and with her sister, Natalie Pope Boyce.

SAL MURDOCCA has illustrated more than 200 children's trade and text books. He is also a librettist for children's opera, a video artist, an avid runner, hiker, and bicyclist, and a teacher of children's illustration at the Parsons School of Design. Sal lives and works in New York with his wife, Nancy.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

CHAPTER SIX, All Fall Down

Nancy put away her radio and looked at Jack and Annie. “I don’t know how you two got past me.”
“We’re sorry,” said Annie.
“This is unbelievable!” said Nancy.
Jack couldn’t believe it, either. How did they mess up so badly?
“I’m so sorry I brought you here,” said Nancy.
“No, no, it’s our fault,” Jack said again.
“It’s mine, all mine, oh . . . ,” said Nancy. She seemed near tears. “You’re just little kids.” Not so little! thought Jack again. Gee!
A snowmobile rumbled outside, its engine warming up.
“Oh, dear,” said Nancy. “I’ve got to lead the group up a safe route to the crater, or they’ll be in trouble. But Pete should be back here in just a few minutes. Will you be okay by yourselves till then?”
“We’ll be fine, don’t worry,” said Annie.
“Good,” said Nancy. “Here, sweeties.” She poured some water into two cups and gave them to Jack and Annie. “Drink.” While they drank the water, Nancy spread a blanket on the floor and turned on the small heater.
“Lie down here,” she said. “Just rest.” She patted the blanket.
Jack and Annie lay down. Nancy covered them with another blanket. “If you get thirsty, drink more water,” she said.
“Thanks,” said Annie. Jack was too embarrassed to say anything. He felt like a preschool kid being put down for a nap.
“Okay!” Nancy said with a big sigh. “You kids nearly gave me a heart attack,” she repeated half to herself as she left the hut.
“Sorry,” said Jack.
But Nancy was gone.
Soon the roar and rumble of the snowmobiles filled the air as Nancy led the scientists and journalists up the mountain.
“We really messed up our mission this time,” said Jack, lying under the blanket.
“And we were doing so well, too,” said Annie. She sat up. “Can I see Morgan’s rhyme, please?”
Jack pulled the rhyme out of his pocket and handed it to Annie.
“Okay,” said Annie. She read aloud:
. . . then all fall down,
Till you come to the Cave of the Ancient Crown.
“I wonder if this counts as falling down?” said Annie. She put the rhyme into her pocket.
“I don’t think so,” said Jack. “I don’t know what that means. And there’s no ‘Ancient Crown’ in Antarctica. It’s all science and research and rules and helicopters and snowmobiles. . . . It’s the real world. . . . His voice trailed off.
“Well, I know one thing: I don’t want to waste time lying around here,” said Annie. She threw off the blanket and stood up. “At least I can take a few pictures while we wait for Pete.”
“You really feel like doing that?” said Jack.
“Not really, but I’m going to try,” said Annie.
“I don’t think you should,” said Jack.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon,” said Annie. “Maybe I’ll see an ancient crown.”
“Yeah, sure,” said Jack.
Annie put on her goggles and ski mask and headed outside.
Jack reached into his pack and pulled out their book. He took off his glove and looked up ancient crown in the index. He wasn’t surprised to find it wasn’t there.
Jack put the book back in his pack and took out his notebook. He read over his notes:
Go slow!
Stay with others!
Cracks in ice!
Never touch wildlife!
Jack’s hand was cold, so he put his glove back on. He put away his notebook, and then laid his head back down and closed his eyes. He just wanted to sleep. The heat from the small heater felt good. The sound of the snowmobiles was fading into the distance. As he started to fall asleep, his notes ran through his mind: Stay with others! Cracks in the ice!
Oh, no!
thought Jack. He sat straight up. He tossed off the blanket. He threw on his pack and rushed out of the hut.
The wind was blowing the snow into icy clouds. Jack pulled up his ski mask and lowered his goggles. “Annie!” he shouted.
“What?” Her voice came from the distance.
Jack caught sight of her. She was aiming her camera up the slope at the smoking crater of the mountain.
“You have to come back now!” he shouted, walking toward her. “You shouldn’t be walking around by yourself!”
“Okay, okay.” Annie put her camera in her pocket.
“Come on,” said Jack. He took Annie’s hand. They held on to each other and walked through the blowing snow, toward the hut. “Remember Nancy’s rules?” said Jack. “There are deep cracks in– AHHH!”
Before Jack could finish, the ground beneath him gave way and he and Annie crashed through a thin layer of snow into a deep crack.
Jack and Annie landed on a ledge of ice. Clumps of snow fell on top of them. Silence filled the air. A thin shaft of light came from the opening they had fallen through. It was at least ten feet above them.
“You okay?” Jack said.
“I think so,” said Annie.
They both sat up slowly. Annie peered over the edge of the ledge. “Uh-oh,” she said. “Look.”
Jack looked. He and Annie were on the ledge of a ravine that plunged thousands of feet down into darkness.
“This must be one of those hidden places in the mountain Nancy talked about,” said Jack, “the ones made by the lava and hot gases.”
“It’s incredible,” said Annie. She reached into her pocket for her camera.
As soon as Annie moved, Jack heard the ice crack. “Don’t move!” he said.
Annie froze.
“Forget pictures,” said Jack. “We’re facing serious danger here. If we move, the ice might break under us and we’ll fall thousands of feet.”
“Got it,” said Annie. She took a deep breath. “Maybe we should use the wand.”
“We can’t,” said Jack. “The wand won’t work. We can only use it for the good of others, not just ourselves.”
“Darn,” said Annie.
They were both still for moment, listening to the immense silence around them.
“Okay,” said Annie. “The way I see it, if we don’t use the wand, we’ll be stuck here forever. Soon we’ll make the wrong move and fall.”
“Right,” said Jack.
“So we’ll never find the secret of happiness for Merlin,” said Annie. “Merlin will fade away completely from sorrow. And Camelot will lose his magic forever.”
“Right,” said Jack.
“So maybe in this case, rescuing ourselves isn’t just our good,” said Annie. “Our good is also the good of others, like Merlin.”
“Good thinking,” said Jack. “Let’s try it.” He carefully twisted around and took off his backpack. Then he very slowly reached inside and pulled out the Wand of Dianthus.
“Okay. Five words . . . ,” Jack whispered. “I guess I’ll just wish for it to save you and me and Merlin. Hey, why didn’t we make that wish a long time ago?”
“We couldn’t,” said Annie. “We hadn’t tried our hardest yet.”
“Right. Get ready . . . ,”said Jack. He closed his eyes, held up the gleaming silver wand, and said:
“SAVE ANNIE, MERLIN, AND ME!”
Jack waited a moment. Then he opened his eyes and looked around. “What happened?” he said.
“Nothing,” said Annie.
“So I guess it didn’t work,” said Jack. He turned to put the wand away. “I guess the rules must–”
CRACK! The ice broke! The ledge gave way!
“AHHH!” called Jack and Annie as they fell through the twilight, down through darkness,
down,
down,
down,
down into blackness.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 530L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (December 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375837345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375837340
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nicki Heskin VINE VOICE on October 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have read many of the Magic Treehouse books while recently "studying" for my 6-year old's Magic Treehouse Birthday Party. She really loves this series, reads them ravenously, and plays "Jack and Annie" constantly with her friends. I read around 15 of them, up until now the first part of the series (this is my first of the Merlin Missions), and have found the books to be cute, quick and entertaining.

I have never found anything in them that concerns me for my daughter to be reading, which is more than I can say for many of the series out there for young children, whose main characters are often wisecracking, sibling-hating and constantly in trouble. I love the way Jack and Annie play together and protect one another, even while they don't always agree and have different styles and strengths.

In any case, regarding this specific book, I think it is a wonderful addition to the Magic Tree House Series, or if you child is new to the series, an excellent introduction. My daughter just got it for her birthday.. and I gave it a quick read because now that I've read so many, I wanted to see what the Merlin Missions were all about.

I was quite impressed. This book seemed a little bit more developed and engrossing than some of the early stories. Not in a way that is too difficult for kids, but just more substantial. It was a good mix of fantasy and fact, like usual, with easily digestible facts and lessons, in this case on penguins and the Antarctic.
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By RONIE on September 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's book was a book that my child's school required to buy. We got it along with the other required books so quickly she is set for the rest of the year. Thanks for the quick shipping. Se is excited to read it.
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Format: Paperback
Eve of the Emperor Penguin is a Magic Tree House book. These books are about a boy named Jack and his sister named Annie. They go on adventures in their magic tree house. At the beginning of this story Jack and Annie have a mission to go to Antarctica! The magic tree house takes them there. The treehouse lands in a dent in an ice mountain. There are lots of penguins surrounding the tree house. The ice cracks. Jack and Annie are trapped. Read the book to see what happens!
My favorite parts are when Annie and Jack help Morgan Le Fay because he was sad. Morgan owns the Magic Tree House. They help him find the secret of happiness in something they brought back for him from Antarctica! My other favorite part is when they meet the penguins because they are cute!
I recommend this book only for ages 4 and up. It would be too hard for someone younger than that. I also think people who love adventures will like it. I really like this adventure book. You will, too!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My son has loved these books since the 1st grade. They follow similar charactors throughout the series and are easy reading for an advanced reader. At the same time they challange an average reader with an easy to follow plot.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Your kids will love this book and the series! My son started reading this series towards the end of the school year and he loves it! I love to see him enjoying books this way. I hope we find another series like this for him once he's finished.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found out about Magic Tree House from my six-year old who began reading it in first grade. He has devoured each book that he borrowed from the school library. He loves it so much he even sent a letter to the author, Mary Pope Osborne, via the official site (which I finally let him a part of). The books in this series has a great many things to offer young readers and their parents alike: adventure, history, and improvement of reading skills. My son loves how history is interwoven into the stories and loves to let us know what he learned. We have since started our own home collection of the Magic Tree House series and look forward to reading many more adventures of Jack and Annie (the brother and sister team protagonist of the books).

Great book for budding bookworms!
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Format: Hardcover
This book, Eve of the Emperor Penguin is the third book in the Magic Tree House series my son has read. It was his favorite out of the three because it had more adventure in it. There was one nerve-wracking scene in it that he felt really built the suspense and made you worry for Jack and Annie. He adored the descriptions of the penguins, and especially liked reading about Penny.

This book combines all the fantastic elements of the Magic Tree House books: friendship, being brave, learning to follow instructions, how reading is important, and being kind to animals.

Easy and fun to read, Eve of the Emperor Penguin is a great, plotty addition to the Magic Tree House series.
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Format: Paperback
The Magic Tree House books are a MUST READ collection for all children. Unlike many other series for young readers, the Magic Tree House should be read in chronological order to best appreciate Jack and Annie's travels through time as they go on various missions; which are typically completed in four parts. Parents and educators will enjoy going along for the ride as much as their students! My daughter is a teenager now but she still gets excited when she sees a new tree house adventure has come out.
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