- Age Range: 8 - 9 years
- Grade Level: 1 - 4
- Lexile Measure: 0240 (What's this?)
- Series: Magic Tree House
- Paperback: 80 pages
- Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; Slp edition (May 29, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780375813658
- ISBN-13: 978-0375813658
- ASIN: 0375813659
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,745 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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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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1,745 customer reviews
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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.
We recently started reading chapter books for our nearly 5 year old son. We bought a few different ones to see what he'd like. We bought and read the first of My Father's Dragon and The Littles. He liked them OK. My wife and I didn't like My Father's Dragon so much because it seems quite dated. The Littles was OK but was rather violent for a kid his age. But the Magic Tree house series is in a word ... magical. My son can't wait for us to read several chapters at bed time and always asks for one more no matter how many we read. I think we are already on book 10 now. It will be sad when we finally finish the last one.
What's so great about these books is that they combine adventure with learning about so many different things ... history, other cultures, geography, animals, and so on. My wife and I also appreciate that the books are about a boy and a girl, not just a boy going on the adventures. The girl is brave and somewhat impulsive, and the boy is more hesitant and cerebral. Together, they make a great team. They also aren't simply exploring. For each book, they have some sort of mission, such as figuring out a riddle or finding a certain object, so there's some sort of puzzle element to the books that spurs thinking. Generally, the missions are part of a larger mission that spans several books as well. What more can you ask for as a parent? These books are fun and engaging for our son, teach him about lots of different things, and encourage him to think abstractly about what's happening in the story. Thank you Mary Pope Osborne!
Every once in a while there is a "scary bit" that we need to discuss briefly, but on the whole, it's a safe choice for the youngest of independent readers. Be careful, though - once they're hooked on the first set, they want ALL the books!