The Magic Tree House books are a series of brilliant books written by US author Mary Pope Osborne. They're not all that well-known in Australia but are famous in the US, for good reason: they're great books!
The books are aimed at children who are just getting started on simple chapter books so they're probably most suited to 6- and 7-year-olds. My Year 2 students absolutely love them (they're seven) and I've found them especially good for reluctant readers.
I work with one little boy who has Autism and is very anxious. He loves the Titanic so I bought Tonight on the Titanic especially for him. He's a good reader but doesn't read much however he is devouring Tonight on the Titanic, which makes my heart sing.
The first Magic Tree House book - Valley of the Dinosaurs - was published in 1992 and there are now 28 books in the original series.
There is also now a series of Fact Tracker books based on the Magic Tree House collection. The Fact Tracker books are non-fiction companions to the chapter books and cover many of the questions Jack and Annie have when they return from their adventures in a fun and interesting way. These are brilliant books too.
The Magic Tree House books follow the adventures of Jack and Annie, a brother and sister
who discover a magical tree house filled with books.
As they explore each book, Jack and Annie are whisked back to different times and places in history so that they become part of the story themselves. They make friends with a variety of people, some of whom are real historical figures, and have to use their wits and courage to solve problems, complete missions and help the people they meet.
The books also introduce children to different cultures and to different historical periods and events, as well as to some of the ancient myths and legends of our world. This is done so well that the books give no hint that they are actually teaching anything and this, I always think, is the sign of a really well-written book.
My three children loved these books and they've been incredibly popular with boys and girls all around the world. In a nutshell, I think The Magic Tree House books are popular with kids because they:
Another thing I look for in the best children's books is a book that I, as an adult, can also read and enjoy and The Magic Tree House collection fits the bill here as well. I've read some of them and have learned quite a few things I didn't know before!
Click on the covers to read more about each book or to buy the book online.