Book Review: Blizzard of the Blue Moon by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne
TitleBlizzard of the Blue Moon   
Publication Info: New York : Random House, c2006.
Summary/Review:

This may be my favorite Magic Tree House book yet.  Jack and Annie are sent to Depression-era New York City to find a unicorn (SPOILER: If you didn’t guess, it’s in the Cloisters museum, although there’s a great diversion where Jack & Annie try to go to the Bronx Zoo).  Jack & Annie take a subway and a cab on their quest as they have to fight against a blizzard and a pair of dark wizards en route to their goal.  What’s great about this book is that the fantasy and adventure elements are blended so well with an honest portrayal of the poverty and desperation of the Depression.
Rating: ****

Book Review: Good Morning, Gorillas by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne
TitleGood Morning, Gorillas
Publication Info: New York : Random House, 2006.
Summary/Review:

Another delightful Magic Tree House journey where Annie and Jack spend a few days living among a family of mountain gorillas in Congo and learn the “magic” of communication.  Osbourne knows a lot about gorilla behavior and incorporates it into the story in informative and entertaining ways.
Rating: ***1/2

Book Reviews: Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne
TitleHaunted Castle on Hallows Eve 
Publication Info: Random House Books for Young Readers (2010)
Summary/Review:

There’s such a great variety of stories in the Magic Tree House series.  Having just read the historical fiction of a story set at the Paris World’s Fair of 1889, we read this book set in the totally magic world of Camelot.  Annie, Jack, & Teddy must go to a clean up a haunted castle.  Oh, and they turn into ravens.  And there’s a pretty cool divide of talents among the three children.
Rating: ***1/2

Book Reviews: Night of the New Magicians by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne
TitleNight of the New Magicians
Publication Info: New York : Random House, 2006.
Summary/Review:

This is a really entertaining installment of the Magic Tree House series where Annie and Jack visit the Paris World’s Fair of 1889 to learn of for forms of “magic.”  The magic is actual the inventions and discoveries of Gustave Eiffel, Louis Pasteur, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell who all meet in a memorable scene atop the Tour Eiffel.  Annie and Jack also end up flying on a bicycle.  Cool stuff!

Rating: ***

Book Review: Monday with a Mad Genius by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne
Title:  Monday with a Mad Genius
Publication Info: New York : Random House, c2007.
Summary/Review:

Jack & Annie are given the mission to spend the day in Renaissance Florence helping Leonardo Da Vinci.  It’s harder than it sounds but they’re persistent and participate in Leonardo’s science and art adventures, and even a little bit of magic and a mysterious smile.  A good story!

Rating: ***

Book Review: Stage Fright on a Summer Night by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne
TitleStage Fright on a Summer Night
Publication Info: New York : Random House, 2002.
Summary/Review:

This may be my favorite Magic Tree House story yet.  Jack & Annie travel to Elizabethan London and join Shakespeare on stage at the Globe Theatre where they learn the magic of theater.  There’s a lot of great touches like Annie’s sympathy for a bear used in bear baiting and Jack’s stage fright.

Rating: ***1/2

Book Review: Ghost Town at Sundown by Mary Pope Osborne


Author: Mary Pope Osborne
TitleGhost Town at Sundown
Publication Info: New York : Random House, c1997.
Summary/Review:

Jack & Annie go back to the Old West and visit a ghost town with real ghosts!  They also encounter some cattle rustlers and a kindly cowboy named Slim.  It’s a fun adventure with a riddle to solve.

Rating: ***

Book Review: Mummies in the Morning by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne
TitleMummies in the Morning
Publication Info: New York : Random House, c1993.
Summary/Review:

Another Magic Tree House classic.  Annie and Jack travel to Ancient Egypt and help a ghost-queen by solving the riddle of hieroglyphics and finding their way through the false passages of a pyramid.  This book also demonstrates their different talents very well, Annie the adventurer, and Jack the researcher.

Rating: ***1/2

Book Review: Pirates Past Noon by Mary Pope Osbourne


Author: Mary Pope Osbourne
TitlePirates Past Noon
Publication Info: New York : Random House, c1994.
Summary/Review:

Swashbuckling adventure awaits Annie and Jack as the magic tree house takes them to an island, and they have to help pirates find a treasure.  I love pirates, but this is a weak story in the series, albeit still entertaining.  It also introduces Morgan in a section at the end that feels a bit tacked on.  Apparently this was supposed to be the last book in the series, but I’m glad that they didn’t stop there!

Rating: **1/2

Book Review: Buffalo Before Breakfast by Mary Pope Osborne


AuthorMary Pope Osborne
TitleBuffalo Before Breakfast
Publication Info: New York : Random House, c1999.
Summary/Review:

This is a very sweet story in the Magic Tree House series.  Annie & Jack go to the Great Plains of the 1800s and meet a Lakota boy named Black Hawk and his wise and gentle grandmother.  It’s a nice glimpse into the life of the Lakota following the buffalo across the plains in the time before white settlers arrived.  Which also makes it bittersweet since a culture and way of life were lost.  Maybe the best Magic Tree House story I’ve read yet.

Rating:  ***1/2