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Showing 1-10 of 20 reviews (3 star)show all reviews
225 of 255 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
Ok, I'll say up front that these are great stories for kids to read. I've been reading them to my 4 year old for some time, and the pace, characters, and action are all perfectly suited. Each of these books grabs his interest and makes him excited about reading more.

The problem I've got with the series is the author's skillset with the language. Some folks may want to overlook this based on the content alone; I feel this view is simple and potentially detrimental to the child. For lots of kids these are first readers, and help develop a child's view of language structure. They're going to start off mimicking the writing 'style' the see; in the case of these books, they'll be seeing a lot of poorly defined (or non-defined) paragraphs, sentence fragments, and grammatical errors. They'll be seeing poorly written examples that will help establish the basis of bad writing habits which may take a lot of work to erase. Whoever edited these books needs a new career.

That said, we skip around the series quite a bit. The latest books are comparatively excellent as far as language mechanics. There's a definite progression in writing *quality* throughout the series, and content is high for all. I just wish Pope-Osborne had taken a creative writing class or two in the beginning.

If you're reading these books to/with your child, you can do some on-the-fly editing. If your child has enough language skill to spot the mistakes, they'll be fine. Otherwise, you might want to proceed with a little caution, or skip ahead in the series.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have mixed feelings about this series. My children (boys 5 & 3) love the books. They are easy enough for the younger one to follow, but exciting enough that the older one isn't bored. My biggest problem with them is the grammar. I would never let my children read these books themselves because I would never want them to think that the writing is correct. Luckily, by reading them aloud I can correct the mistakes without them even realizing it. Seriously though, the grammar is so poor that had not all the books been that way I would have assumed it was just something wrong with the printing machine. The author literally does not know what constitutes a sentence and she has no concept of the comma. Here are just a few examples (all found a single page no less!!):
1. "Let's leave the scroll on floor. And go," he said.

2. They walked together. Across the room. To the glowing gold box.

3. They stopped in front of the box. And they peered inside.

In all those cases she created fragment sentences instead of one regular sentence. She does this all the time. I think it was either in the first book or the second that I couldn't find a single page that didn't have a grammatical error. Both the author and the publisher should be ashamed of themselves.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
The best thing about the Magic Tree House books is that they are informative.

At one time, we went all-in on MTH and had about 30 of them. And my oldest read them -- don't get me wrong. But the books aren't funny or engaging or even classic stories. And the narration is just blah. Lots of telling, not much story. These books have been marketed like crazy, and they ARE informative, but they're not fun to read.

There is nothing engaging about the characters, and nothing ever really happens in the series. Sometimes Annie and Jack don't take more than 25 steps from the tree house (Pirates comes to mind). They are just words on a page.

For early reader series (especially for boys), my kids prefer Roscoe Riley Rules and Geronimo Stilton -- both are very quick to reel your reader in. Kids gobble them up for their clever humor and great characters.
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61 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
My second grader, who is home-educated, loves the stories, but I have to de-program him after (or as) he reads them, i.e., you can't start a sentence with "And", and I often find myself pointing out sentence fragments to him & explaining why they are not complete. Examples: "Still bellowing." Subject, please! (book #1, p. 36), and "He and Annie followed the ghost queen. Deeper into the pyramid." No period is needed here! (book 3, p. 37). These are just two of hundreds of examples from these books. Since kids learn how to write properly not only through instruction, but also (and largely, I think) from what they read, it's important that authors of children's literature take this responsibility seriously.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2015
Format: Paperback
These books are entertaining and interesting to my 6 and 4 year old sons, but like a few of the other reviewers, I'm bothered by the poor writing. These books are full of sentence fragments and lack of subject/verb agreement. For instance, book #3 contains the phrase "a series of symbols were..." The subject is 'series,' which is a singular noun and should be followed by the verb 'was.' Why wasn't this caught and corrected before the book was published? I'm doing most of the reading to my sons, but if my six-year-old were reading this himself, I'd be more concerned since he is a developing reader. These books need to model correct writing if their readers are ever going to learn to write correctly themselves. So, not a terrible series, but they could be much better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I purchased this set to encourage my eldest daughter to read in 1st grade. While the stories are fun for kids, I was shocked at the number of incomplete sentences in every one of the books. I understand they are for kids, but that doesn't mean they should not be edited before publication. I want my children to learn proper english. Reading poorly written books isn't a good way to help them to read and write properly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
My boy loves reading these books, but the grammar is AWFUL! Once he starts understanding how bad it is, I'm not sure I'll let him continue to read them. We've only ready through book 5 so maybe they get better as the books go on. I hope sure hope so!
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on March 4, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I was in search of books for my 5-year old as an introduction to chapter books. Reading the same story books with the colorful pictures was getting old fast. He was not impressed at first because "they're all words, no pictures, hmphf." I talked him into trying them one night and he's been hooked. He very eagerly awaits for the page with a picture, but he's just as captivated by the story.
With that said, the writing is awful. The books are such poor examples of grammar, sentence structure, and even story development. I mean, the grammar. Is really. Bad. (Seriously, sentence are written like that.) I just correct as I'm reading and read those fragmented sentences like they should be written.

In no way, can I recommend these as books for your child to read on their own when they are learning how to read. But they are great as an intro to chapter books, they are great for snuggling before bed, and now my 5-year old begs for "just one more chapter."
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on September 22, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Bought this set for my son when he was 6, just starting summer from 1st grade. He reads 2 grade levels above his own, but I thought these would be fun and interesting reads to at least keep him going. It took him a day to read one book and was over it. They are good books, but not challenging as I thought, and per the kid, not as entertaining as he thought.
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on March 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Ages 3,6 and 8
They love the adventures and learning about the places they visit.
We'll keep on reading them.
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