My six year old is obsessed with The Magic Tree House series of books by Mary Pope Osborne. So much that he's races through them and can hardly wait until 6/23 when the next book comes out. I'm relieved about this obsession because we adore this series for many reasons. Below are ten reasons why we love the Magic Treehouse Series.
Why We Love the Magic Tree House Series
Heathy Sibling Relationship
Yes, this relationship is idealized in many respects, but it sets a great example for children on how to communicate respectfully during good and challenging times.
Adventure and Risk Taking
The sense of adventure in the two main characters is phenomenal. They aren't afraid to try anything. I don't mean to say that they don't have fear, because they certainly do, but they act in courageous ways with purpose.
Jack & Annie travel to the coolest locations all over the world (in many time periods). This travel ignites curiosity and devotion to travel and seeing the world.
Geography and Culture
I admit that I have not researched the accuracy of the author's writing but no description of people and location has struck me as out of place yet. Sure, she could go into more detail and nothing in life is black & white, so to speak, but again, the author does a wonderful job igniting the sense of awe and wonder of the world. She introduces and connects children to places and situations (e.g. war, earthquakes, etc) they otherwise would not.
Historically Significant Leaders
Historical significance whether it's with ‘Wolfie” in Austria (Mozart), Flo in Egypt (Florence Nightingale), or Louis Armstrong in New Orleans, my sons want to learn more about these characters and the time period. The author does a terrific job of introduces characters across a wide variety of topics, vocations, talents, and disciplines from philosophers, royalty, scientists, athletes, and musicians, Ms. Osborne weaves the stories of these historical leaders not without introducing heartache, hardship, and obstacles these individuals endured in their lifetime.
Topic of Gender Roles
The characters open conversation for how women were once treated (and still are in many parts of the world). Although I wish there were a few more “lead” roles for women in history, I am proud of the way the author brings in the topic of gender roles. There is a strong female in each story, including the precocious Annie.
Not only do children want to read these stories, the main characters adore books and the library. This series gets children excited about learning.
Female Role Model
Annie, although young and the younger sibling, is a go getter, strong, and independent. She always has a plan, is thoughtful, and compassionate. Her smart attitude in life clearly shows through the author's writing, making the character one to which child look up.
Smart is Cool
Jack is a thinker, a journalist, and researcher. At first, he is shy about these interests but then soon owns them. In one story he fear Prince Alexander (Alexander the Great) will want to challenge him in sport, which is not his strength. Coming to terms with this idea that it is okay to not be into sports and it is okay to like books, research, and writing is a valuable lesson for children.
Magic and Imagination
This series clearly has a bit of “magic” in it. You have to go with the ideas presented by the author: the treehouse, the various magic items that help Jack & Annie in each adventure. These items whether it be a magic bottle, a wand, etc, are concrete and therefore young children can relate to the meaning. We can take the idea further that these items represent something that is less tangible. Exploring these ideas with children is remarkably eye opening for adults. At the end, watching kids get excited about the possibility of their own magic treehouse, where they would want to go, and the problems they would solve is exciting and warms the heart.