Book Review: Magic Treehouse #1 (Dinosaurs Before Dark)

I was at a consignment sale the other week, and I picked up several of the books in the Magic Treehouse series (by Mary Pope Osborne) for a fairly good price. They are not consecutive, but volumes 1 and 2 were there.

The series came out during the gap between my own childhood and that of my child, so I never got to read the series. But I always hear elementary students talking about it when I conduct writing and reading workshops, and my own high school students share fond memories with me of reading the series.

The story follow almost nine-year-old Jack and his eight-year-old sister Annie as they find a treehouse in the woods of Pennsylvania. It’s just before dark, and they’re supposed to be heading home, but Annie decides to investigate, and Jack is tempted to follow when he learns the treehouse is full of books.

In this episode, they end up opening a dinosaur book, and Jack says aloud that he wishes he could see real dinosaurs in action. And his wish is granted. The two travel in time to see dinosaurs, and on the way they find a strange medallion with the letter “M” stamped on it, suggesting that someone else has traveled there before them.

When they return home, no time has passed.

The book is about 60 pages, which includes illustrations. It’s a chapter book, but for a grown-up, it only takes a few minutes to read. It’s an engaging, plot-based story, and I will definitely be sharing it with my daughter in a few years. The text is large enough to read easily, and there are enough details to tell the story without being overwhelming. It’s a good story to read aloud each night or for a young independent reader tackling chapter books.

Since each book only takes a few minutes to read, I’ll tackle the rest of the stack as I have time–and then leave the books on my daughter’s bookshelf so that they’ll be ready when she is!


SpringFling-ValMullerFor the next week, my young adult novels are deeply discounted over at Barking Rain Press. You can buy The Scarred Letter or The Girl Who Flew Away for just $2.99. This deal is valid at Amazon.com (Scarred or Girl), the publisher (Scarred or Girl) and anywhere else e-books are sold!