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Magic Tree House #1: Dinosaurs Before Dark [Kindle Edition]

Mary Pope Osborne , Sal Murdocca
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (261 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $4.99
Kindle Price: $4.28
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Jack and Annie's very first fantasy adventure in the bestselling middle-grade series—the Magic Tree House!

Where did the tree house come from?

Before Jack and Annie can find out, the mysterious tree house whisks them to the prehistoric past. Now they have to figure out how to get home. Can they do it before dark . . . or will they become a dinosaur's dinner?

Visit the Magic Tree House website!

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-3-- This enjoyable time-travel fantasy is a successful beginning chapter book. Jack and his younger sister find a tree house filled with books. When he wishes he could really see the Pteranodon pictured in one of them, it appears at the window. The children have been transported back to the Cretaceous period. They begin to explore and are soon threatened by a Tyrannosaurus. The Pteranodon comes to their rescue, and they figure out enough about the magic that carried them back in time to be able to use it to return home. There is plenty of suspense and magic here, and enough dinosaur information to please science buffs. Characterization is sketchy and older children will find the plot predictable, but readers just past the easy-to-read stage will find it satisfying. It should attract those who devour Ruth Chew's books. --Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Inside Flap

Illus. in black-and-white. "With an entertaining blend of fact, farce, and fantasy, Osborne tells the story of Jack and his sister, Annie, who take a trip in a magic tree house and land in a time 65 million years ago. They find dinosaurs and volcanoes and adventure. Veteran storyteller Osborne builds the power of reading into the story: it's the books in the tree house that give the kids the magic to travel and see far, far away."--Booklist.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
80 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dinosaurs Before Dark June 13, 2000
By A Customer
My name is George. I am eight years old, and I am in 3rd grade. Thetitle is Dinosaur Before Dark and the author's name is Mary PopeOshorne. Jack and Annie went to the Magic Tree House. So Jack and Annie saw a lot of books.Jack picked up one book and put it in his backpack. When Annie and Jack came out they saw a dinosaur from a long time ago. They saw a Pterandon flying around the Magic Tree House.Annie and Jack took a flight from the Pterandon. Jack and Annie went to the past where dinosaurs lived. The dinosaurs that Jack and Annie saw were Pterandon,Triceratops, duck-billed dinosaur, and Tyrannosaurs Rex. When they saw the Tyrannosaurs Rex, he tried to eat them.
I liked this book because they went back in time to explore where was the dinosaur live. Yes I will recommend to other children to read this book to the 3rd graders. I give this story 5 stars. END
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great family bedtime book. October 12, 1999
By A Customer
This book was recommended as a good read for our 8 year old who does not enjoy reading. We found this to be an interesting book that reads fast and keeps you hanging onto each word wondering what will happen next. All four of our children enjoyed this book (ages 4 1/2,6,8,and 12). We had to go out and get several other Magic Treehouse books. We can't wait to see where Annie and Jack go next.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great intro to chapter books August 20, 2000
By IdeaMom
I bought this book for my 4 year old who is wild about dinosaurs. He loves being read to and needed something a little more advanced than picture books. This book was a great start because the subject matter was something he was interested in, he could easily comprehend what was being read, and it could be finished in one sitting. There were enough pictures in the book to maintain his interest.
After reading this book, we have embarked on a new Magic Tree House adventure a day. My son looks forward to this time so much. Thank goodness the books are at the library! The books can be read by a parent in about a 30 minute sitting. I recorded Dinosaurs Before Dark on tape for my son to listen to any time since it is his favorite of the series so far.
Also to extend the reading activity at home, we created a Cretaceous period dinosaur diorama. My son loves acting out the story with his own dinosaurs...
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dinosaurs Before Dark November 10, 2000
By A Customer
My five year old son loved this book so much that after I finished reading it to him, he carried the book around with him for days. The story line catches the young person's attention quickly, and holds the attention from chapter to chapter. The suspense about what will happen to Jack in the dinosaur chase is just enough fear to keep the attention, but not so much that they want you to stop reading. When we finished one chapter he wanted to go straight to the next chapter. He was asking any grown up, even his big brother to read to him. If you have a child who you need to peek their interest in reading, this is a great book to start with.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple for new readers December 13, 1999
By A Customer
These are the books that finally got my 8 year son, who'd been very unwilling to read by himself, into reading. He likes the different settings for each book (dinosaurs, pirates, wild west) and that they're fast paced. To an adult, the books are too simplistic, but they're just right for the new reader who's looking for adventure/action stories with a little bit of mystery tossed in for good measure.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Eric D.
I thought my son was ready to try reading on his own and picked this book more or less at random. He read it in one sitting and asked for more. I bought him the second and third books in the series and he read them in the same day. I bought the rest of the series and had to ration them out one book a day or he would have read them all at once. Now he's a regular littlebook worm and turns off the TV and puts away his toys every time I give him a new book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awakening a child's imagination September 4, 2000
My 5 year old daughter has fallen in love with the Magic Tree House books. If only there were more books like this. She had not been particularly interested in dinosaurs, but after this book she clearly wants to learn more. As a father who reads to my daughters every night, I think that it is a pleasure to find an author who has managed to give a lot of information, while writing a fun story that really awakens the imagination of children.
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35 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Recommended December 16, 2005
I ordered a few books of this series for my six-year-old son. I won't be ordering any more. I'm placing my review on this book, because this one was the worst of the three we bought.

There is potential in the concept of two children returning to various bygone eras, and experiencing them first hand. The character of Jack, if further developed, could be a good role model for kids interested in science, history, and research. But the character of Annie doesn't work at all. I think she is intended to be a foil for Jack's more serious, contemplative personality, but if she had been portrayed as smarter this would have worked better.

The plots in this series are surprisingly dull. My son halfheartedly suffered through the first read-through of each of the books we bought, but he doesn't want to read them again. We then checked out "Dinosaur Habitat" by Helen V. Griffith from the library, and he asked to read that book at least fifty times.

Osborne underestimates the intelligence of her audience. On occasion, the stories seem to telescope into Annie's eye view, and a lot of ink that could have been devoted to the various interesting aspects of dinosaurs was instead devoted to their relative "niceness".

My most serious objection, however, is the bad grammar. Do not believe the notion that your kids need their sentences cut into pieces in order to read them! Beginning readers pay a lot of attention to structure. A well written, grammatically correct sentence is filled with structural cues which help new readers decipher unfamiliar words. "Dinosaurs Before Dark" contains so many errors, I consider it worse than useless as a teaching aid.

I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, but I want to warn other parents who might be attracted to this series as I was.

* We did enjoy the illustrations by Sal Murdocca, and only wish they had been in color.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars My seven-year-old loved it!
I bought this book for my seven-year-old, who is not particularly fond of reading. I read the book to him and it kept his attention. Read more
Published 9 hours ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great-grandson will love this book.
Published 1 day ago by Virginia D. Urie
5.0 out of 5 stars Even the title is five stars.
This is the first of the Magic Tree House Books series. As of 1992 the author was already a highly respected and appreciated by her peers and two term president of the Authors... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Persop
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A Christmas gift.
Published 7 days ago by Virginia Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 8 days ago by Margo W. Nauman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 8 days ago by Lisa F
5.0 out of 5 stars I lament
Small excellence in the world of a cool title of a cool title of a cool title of a cool title of a cool idea of a cool title of a cool title of a cool title of a new comment by the... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Pattyfree
4.0 out of 5 stars Great little AR book
I am pretty sure my seven-year-old​ LOVES this book. He has a paperback copy and also on his kindle.
Published 14 days ago by Diana Frances
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
This book was amazingly awesome I mean woooooooonderful and I loved it very much like so much

This book was amazing
Published 17 days ago by J. Jacobs
5.0 out of 5 stars M
My 6 yr old son soves the story. I'm 40 and I do too. We went to a local restaurant/theater play house ( Derby Dinner Playhouse ). They did the show from this book. Read more
Published 20 days ago by mrovationguitar
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More About the Author

Widely regarded among parents, teachers, and librarians for its power to instill a passion for reading, Mary Pope Osborne's award-winning Magic Tree House series is an international phenomenon and has sold more than 120 million books worldwide since its debut in 1992, and has been translated into 32 different languages in over 30 international markets. There are currently 51 Magic Tree House books and 28 Fact Trackers, the nonfiction companions to the fiction titles. All Magic Tree House books are available in print, as ebooks and Listening Library audio books, which are all narrated by Mary Pope Osborne. Visit for more information about the series, activities, and more.

The Magic Tree House Classroom Adventures Program is a free, comprehensive set of online educational resources for teachers developed by Mary Pope Osborne as gift to teachers, to thank them for their enthusiastic support of the series. Complete with lesson plans, curriculum guides, and creative activities, the Classroom Adventures Program incorporates every book in the series, including the nonfiction Fact Tracker titles, enabling teachers to build upon students' interest in Jack and Annie's adventures, while simultaneously meeting core curriculum standards across a multitude of subjects. Educators can learn more at

MARY POPE OSBORNE is an ardent advocate and supporter of children's literacy, and the award-winning author of more than 100 books for children and young adults, including novels, retellings of mythology and folklore, picture books, biographies, and mysteries. From 1993-1997, Ms. Osborne served as president of the Authors Guild, the country's leading organization for published authors. She has traveled extensively in the U.S. and abroad, visiting schools and speaking on issues related to children's literacy. She recently spoke at the UN regarding the importance of worldwide literacy and was profiled on NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams for her continued efforts. Mary has donated over 250,000 books to children in need through her Gift of Books program. She resides in Connecticut. The creator of the Magic Tree House series, Ms. Osborne is also the coauthor of the companion Magic Tree House Fact Trackers series with her husband, WILL OSBORNE, and her sister, NATALIE POPE BOYCE.

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