- Step into a World of Adventure: The bestselling Magic Tree House series makes history fun by taking you right there, whether it's to France in the Middle Ages, the prairies of America, the moon, or beyond.
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Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon Paperback – Box set, May 29, 2001
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From the Inside Flap
Read by the author
5 hours, 40 mintues
Just in time for the holidays enjoy eight "Magic Tree House chapter books in a special CD gift set. As an added bonus, listen to an interview with the author and reader, Mary Pope Osborne.
These eight stories, currently available as two retail volumes on cassette with a combines price of $36.00, are being offered now along with the interview in a 5-CD set at a special price of $30.00. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
MARY POPE OSBORNE is the author of the New York Times number one bestselling Magic Tree House series as well as coauthor of the Magic Tree House Fact Tracker series, along with her husband, Will, and her sister Natalie Pope Boyce.
SAL MURDOCCA has illustrated over 200 children’s trade and textbooks. He currently teaches children’s illustration at Parsons School of Design in New York City.
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That being said, I do have a few qualms. First of all, I strongly agree with the reviewers that criticized the author/editor for letting these books be published with so many grammatical errors! Children learn by example, and reading incomplete sentences, misspelled words, proper nouns that are not capitalized, and loosely structured paragraphs makes it hard to teach proper mechanics. These books could have been phenomenal if not for the poor grammar!.....I myself debated on whether or not to use these for a while, and then decided that that I could use the errors as a jumping off point to teach some basic rules of grammar. Each day I put a couple of selections out of the book on the board, and asked the kids to fix it. We worked on ways to improve the writing, but honestly, it was a lot of extra work! I would have rather had the grammar be correct in the beginning, and then I would have been able to use the book as an example of good sentence structure.
Also, I may be old fashioned (even though I'm young), but I do not like some of the ways that the characters respond to each other, such as by saying, "Oh, don't be stupid" and things like that. I know kids talk to each other this way, but I want to build an atmosphere of mutual respect, and some things just kind of hit me as bad examples, even if I am being a bit too picky.
Honestly, I would say that I my kiddos and I enjoyed the companion Fact Tracker books a lot more than the actual Magic Tree House ones. The grammar isn't perfect, but it is a lot better, and the paragraphs are more clearly defined, so I didn't feel the need to 'correct' it for them. Since the books are nonfiction, they also fit nicely into science and history lessons, and you don't need to read the Magic Tree House books first!
In addition, I would recommend the Boxcar Children series--although these may seem a little daunting for some beginning readers to read all on their own. The chapters are a little longer and there are more words on a page, but the adventures are just an interesting, the grammar is correct, and the characters are good role models. I only wish that there were 'fact tracker' books to go along with THAT set!
In conclusion, like many other reviewers have said, these are "great books, but poorly written." I have heard that the books farther on in the series are better, and I hope that this is true...but I don't know if we will continue on to find out.
The stories are simple and not that interesting to me, but the brother and sister main characters are good humored and adventurous: good company for the duration of a series. My son definitely thinks so, and he's been asking for me to read and re-read the books. (we'll be buying the next boxed set soon) One of the things I like most about the stories are that they are little mini-lessons in history, without being heavy-handed about it. And they never get too scary for a little one's sensitive imagination.
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."