When I found the Magic Tree House series, I was thrilled. Mary Pope Osbourne is writting books with non-fictional details in a fictional plot!! And I love that there are pictures on every other page--it keeps the early readers entertained. My older boys read early so it was hard to find books they could read that weren't "silly" and kept their interest (and had pictures). Even when my two older boys stepped into more difficult reading books, they still wanted to follow the series! Now my 7 year old is taking over!!
I understand that the writting is for younger kids, but last year I worked as a teacher's aide, and every day I would read a chapter to the 4th grade class, before dismissal, and they were sold--found Magic Tree House more fun than Harry Potter!! When we started a new book, we would all wait until the tree house stopped spinning and the whole class would say with me "everything was still; very, very still" (a standard line in each book)!
Ok, but not well written, overall.
The first book in the series wasn't too bad. It was filled with suspense and exciting dinosaurs! However, after reading #2 and #3 I came to the realization that apparently the writing wasn't going to get any better. These books are written in simple sentence format, too juvenile for most kids I think. Also the author includes phrases like, "I'm going to kill her!" and living in the times that we do, I don't think this is appropriate. Also I didn't think the stories flowed well. They were way too choppy and broken up. We were left scratching our heads after some of it. Overall, I think you can do much better with other series'. The Boxcar Children would be one of my suggestions. I thought the premise these books are based on was so fun and held great promise. Oh well.
great subject matter poorly handled
I have found this series very disappointing overall. The premise is great-- kids travelling through books to fascinating places and times. But the plots and language are so simple and the characters so undeveloped that I can't get my child (or myself) motivated to finish the books. Well-written non-fiction on the same topics would be not only more informative but more engaging.