The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne has been popular since the first MTH book for young independent readers, Dinosaurs Before Dark, was published in 1992. By August 2012, there were 48 books in the series for independent readers, 6 to 10 or 11 years old, as well as 26 companion research guides (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker nonfiction books) for some of the books in the series.
The Adventures of Jack and Annie
All of the books in the series center around the time travel adventures of brother and sister Jack and Annie, who live in Frog Creek, Pennsylvania. The two discover a magic tree house in the woods by their house. In books #1 to 28, Jack is 8 years old and Annie is a year younger. Thanks to the book-filled magic tree house whose books have magical properties and whose owner, magical librarian Morgan le Fay provides them with exciting missions, the two have many exciting adventures. Each book focuses on a subject and story designed to pique the interest of young independent readers. The subjects and time periods vary widely, which means that there will most likely be some, or many, of particular interest to your child.
Magic Tree House books #1 to 28 are generally between 65 and 75 pages long and target children 6 to 9. The reading levels are mostly between 2.0 and 2.4. The books are divided into brief chapters, each of which has one or more intriguing illustrations by Sal Murdocca, the illustrator for all of the MTH books. Teachers and parents looking for specific information about a variety of reading level measures for the books, as well as curriculum connections and lessons plans, will find Mary Pope Osborne's Magic Tree House Classroom Adventures Program site a valuable resource. Your children will enjoy the games, activities and fun, all related to books in the series and the subjects they cover, at the Random House Magic Tree House site.
While you may want to have your child start with the first book in the series, which introduces Jack and Annie and enables your child to experience time travel via the Magic Tree House for the first time right along with Jack and Annie, it's not necessary to read the books in a particular order. A prologue at the beginning of each book provides the necessary background information.
However, to provide incentive for kids to keep reading, there is an overarching mission for each four books, but it is still not necessary to read even each of those books in a particular order. To give you an idea of a mission, in books #9 to 12, Jack and Annie have to solve four ancient riddles, one in each of the books, but since each of the books can be read independently, it will be up to young readers (or their teachers) to decide whether or not to read the books in groups of four.
The books are available in paperback, library binding, and as audiobooks and eBooks. A full set of books #1 to 28 in the Magic Tree series is also available in paperback. Individual books are also available, as are books in sets of four.
Benefits of a Good Series for Young Independent Readers
In order for children to learn to be fluent readers, with good comprehension skills, they need to read a lot. When children are relatively new readers, they need to concentrate on decoding each word and comprehending what they are reading without a lot of distractions. It helps if they can find a series they like at a reading level they can comfortably read. Why? Every time they start a new book in the series, they don't have to get used to new main characters, a new story format, a different style of writing or anything else that would distract them from just enjoying the story. It's this enjoyment that will bring them back for more and more stories, which will help them become fluent readers.
It also helps a lot to talk about the books with your children. Ask them to tell you about Jack and Annie's latest adventure, what it was all about, and what they learned. For kids who prefer nonfiction or who want to know more about the subject of the Magic Tree House book they just read, see if there is a Magic Tree House Fact Tracker nonfiction companion research guide.
Book List of Books #1 to 28 in the Magic Tree House Series
Note that a "CNB" (for "companion nonfiction book") at the end of each book listing means that there is a Magic Tree House Fact Tracker for that book.
- Dinosaurs Before Dark, Magic Tree House, Book #1 - CNB
- The Knight at Dawn, Magic Tree House, Book Book #2 - CNB
- Mummies in the Morning, Magic Tree House, Book Book #3 - CNB
- Pirates past Noon, Magic Tree House, Book Book #4 - CNB
- Night of the Ninjas, Magic Tree House, Book #5
- Afternoon on the Amazon, Magic Tree House, Book #6 - CNB
- Sunset of the Sabertooth, Magic Tree House, Book #7 - CNB
- Midnight on the Moon, Magic Tree House, Book #8 - CNB
- Dolphins at Daybreak, Magic Tree House, Book #9 - CNB
- Ghost Town at Sundown, Magic Tree House, Book #10
- Lions at Lunchtime, Magic Tree House, Book #11
- Polar Bears Past Bedtime, Magic Tree House, Book #12 - CNB
- Vacation Under The Volcano, Magic Tree House, Book #13 - CNB
- Day of the Dragon King, Magic Tree House, Book #14
- Viking Ships at Sunrise, Magic Tree House, Book #15
- Hour of the Olympics, Magic Tree House, Book #16 - CNB
- Tonight on the Titanic, Magic Tree House, Book #17 - CNB
- Buffalo Before Breakfast, Magic Tree House, Book #18
- Tigers at Twilight, Magic Tree House, Book #19
- Dingoes at Dinnertime, Magic Tree House, Book #20
- Civil War on Sunday, Magic Tree House, Book #21
- Revolutionary War on Wednesday, Magic Tree House, Book #22 - CNB
- Twister on Tuesday, Magic Tree House, Book #23 - CNB
- Earthquake in the Early Morning, Magic Tree House, Book #24
- Stage Fright on a Summer Night, Magic Tree House, Book #25
- Good Morning, Gorillas, Magic Tree House, Book #26
- Thanksgiving on Thursday, Magic Tree House Book #27 - CNB
- High Tide in Hawaii, Magic Tree House, Book #28 - CNB